Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crops are in the ground...strawberries in the fridge!

I know I didn't post anything over the weekend.  We were super busy on the farm.  We finished getting all of our crops planted and helped our friend get his finished as well.  It is such a great feeling when the crops are all in the ground, ready to peek through the surface and then you can watch your farmer husband do his rain dance because we need some "light, gentle rain to make them grow!"  Farming is a huge gamble and a lot of people don't realize the risks involved financially and physically...not to mention all the emotional things like praying for rain, hoping that the cutworms don't damage the crop, or should we replant that field or not.  Oh the perils of farm life, which I love dearly!

This was part of the flat of strawberries
that we purchased at Tuttles Orchard.
Saturday, I went to Tuttles Orchard in Greenfield, IN and purchased a few tomato, cilantro and zucchini plants for the garden.  Then we went inside the store and they had beautiful stalks of fresh rhubarb, which I just had to get and strawberries!  Yes, the main purpose of this trip was to get a flat of strawberries and wow did they look good!

Bill thought I was crazy for buying so much, but I love strawberries and I have been wanting to make freezer jam.  This is only the second year for our strawberry patch at home and it's not a very big patch plus the frost got to some of them back in April.

Regardless, I was determined to make freezer jam!  On Saturday, I washed and cut all of the strawberries, which was 8 heaping quarts.  I froze 4 quarts for a pie I plan on making later.  Sunday after church was freezer jam time.  It is so easy to make and tastes DELICIOUS!

These are the strawberries that are getting ready to go into the
coldwater.  Don't they look delicious?
First, wash, hull and de-stem the strawberries.  In the picture, you can see the strawberries soaking in the kitchen sink.  This is helpful because it will not only clean the strawberries, but get any bugs (or slugs) to come out/off of the fruit.  Be sure to let them soak for at least 10 minutes, then rise them off again under cold water. 

Next, lay the strawberries out to dry.  I usually lay paper towel down on a cookie sheet and let them air dry for a little while.  While they are drying, I washed five 8oz Ball freezer containers and dried them and set out 4 Ziploc quart bags to freeze the strawberries I wasn't going to use.

After the strawberries are dry, measure out the following:
  • 4 cups crushed strawberries
  • 1-1/2 cups of sugar (I use Splenda Granular)
  • 1ea of the 1.59oz package of the Ball Simple Creations No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin
Stir the sugar and pectin in a bowl together until they are blended.
Add the crushed strawberries and stir for 3 minutes.
Ladle the mixture into the 8oz freezer containers up to the fill line and screw the lids on.
Let them stand for 30-45 minutes.
You can store in the fridge for about a month (if it lasts that long) or in the freezer for a year!
These are the containers that are going in the freezer and there
is half of a container that I put in the fridge!

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