Sunday, July 10, 2011
Junque Food & Junque Yard....Strawberries!
It's always been a goal of mine to produce enough strawberries to make jam. Each year, I never think I'm going to, so I just eat them raw. Which is fine. There is nothing more perfect than a ripe strawberry just picked from your own stash. I've grown enough to make strawberry shortcake (I prefer Bisquick's Classic shortcake recipe for the biscuits) in the past. but mainly, I like to eat them fresh and whole. Taking a handful to work for breakfast is a sure way to have a great day.
That said, I've always wanted to make jam from my own berries. I've done it with store bought berries with absolutely fine results. But the news articles out there lately say that strawberries are one of the most pesticide laden commercially grown foods out there, along with celery, peppers, etc. The skin on the berries is so soft the pesticide sinks in, and sometimes normal washing isn't enough to get it off. Plus, you never know how long ago they were picked, how long they've been sitting in a warehouse, or on a truck, etc.
DaHubster's Aunt Carol makes a freezer jelly that is beyond great. every year we get a jelly jar from her, and it always goes way too fast. I want MORE! I want my own.
Actually, the last time I made strawberry jam, it didn't set up so well. It was incredibly runny, more like a strawberry sauce with chucks of berries in it. It's excellent stirred into yogurt or on top of ice cream. It did not go to waste, that's for sure.
Enough tangents..back to the point. I did a dumb thing, and assumed I wouldn't have enough strawberries for jam this year. LOL. I had about a half of of quart picked, and went to the farmer's market, where only one vendor was selling berries. At $4.50 a quart. That's not a bad deal, since most grocery stores sell theirs on sale for 2 for %.00 a pint. These berries were HUGE, and some of them were not quite ripe, which if not so diplomatically said out loud, and very kind offered to let me pick my own out of their stash behind the counter. I was embarrassed, though, sure they were thinking that I was one of the hard to deal with customers. I just took the best looking quart I could see on the table.
Then I went home and picked my own strawberries, and I could see that the quart I got at the FM was NOT needed. I had so many, that I had to inside to get a bigger bowl. I picked until my legs were wobbly and my back hurt from bending over so much. then I sent DaHubster out to pick the rest that were ripe enough. Giant bowl. Huge amount of berries.
I should have picked first, *then* gone to the market.
Ah well, live and learn. I have a ton of strawberries, and there will be jam. And 3/4's of it will be from my own garden.
I can live with that. :)