Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Year's Worth of Strawberries

Old bath towels are great for covering the countertops when canning. No worries about making a mess! This is where we were crushing the berries and that is all of the foam we scraped off after boiling.

Our filling station and some of the finished product.

This is called working double time.

I'm spending the day with my Mom and sister today. We met at our favorite berry farm just after 8 AM and started picking. 30 pounds of strawberries later we headed for home. My Mom hulled all those berries while my sister and I went to Meijer for more pectin. Of course we also stopped by the bathing suit section, etc., etc. but we finally made it back home.

That's when the fun began. We had a pretty good assembly line going. One would crush, one would stir 2 batches at a time, and the third would manage the canner and jars. We pumped out 2 batches before breaking to attend my cousin's graduation party. It was nice to see some family that I don't get to visit with very often.

Back at home the jam making continued. We also sliced some berries to freeze and left the 12# that we picked last week in the freezer for shortcake throughout the year.

All in all, here is our bounty:

25 pints jam
13 half pints jam
8 4 oz. jars jam
20 cups crushed, frozen berries
2 qts. sliced frozen
10 cups "foam" to use right away

If Brian and I used 1 pint every 2 weeks (which we won't) we would have enough for a whole year plus some for my Mom and sister (who don't use much) and plenty to give away. I'd say this was a success. :)

About half of the finished product.

Do you can your own jams or jellies? Do you do enough for a whole year? This time we went to the U-pick farm but I'm hoping to have enough of our own someday. Does anyone grow all of their own fruit for jam?


Farmer's Daughter said...

Last year I canned way too much for us alone, so I'm going easy and only canning what I know we'll use this year. I'm freezing more, since we bought a big freezer and it will use less energy if it's full.

Deb said...

I just processed 20#'s of berries yesterday. I made freezer jam with most. However, I tried the no cook freezer jam method by Ball.. not sure how that is going to work out. Freezer jam just doesn't seem to set up thick enough. I think next time I'm going to attempt to can the jam and see if I have better results.

Jena said...

FD & Deb - Brian really wanted me to make freezer jam because he likes it but we need all the room we can get in our freezer for beef and chicken. Plus I stock up on things like butter and like to have a lot of prepared meals in the freezer. For us canning works best for everything else. I want to can our veggies for the first time this year to save even more space in the freezer.

Deb - Don't be put off by canning jam, it is really easy once you get the hang of it. Way to go doing 20#! I'm glad we're both done!

Julie said...

Good for you!! I make all our own jams, jellies, butters and marmalade. I make what I know we'll use and some extra to give as gifts. I try to get it from the farm in the town I grew up in. I had wanted to use at least some of our own strawberries this year, BUT THE CHIPMUNK HAS EATEN ALL BUT TWO!!!! Sorry, did I sound mad?! =P lol! I saw my friend's garden the other day, and last year she had the same amount of strawberry plants that I have this year, so maybe next year I can have a good sized patch...and I think it's time to dust off the havahart trap. =)

Abutton said...

I love to make jam! My mom and I make it together every chance we get, and it has become a really special tradition. We usually make too much for our family, but homemade jam is a wonderful gift. Last week, we made sour cherry-mulberry jam from the fruit on the bushes and trees in and around our yard. The flavor is amazing, with the tart cherries and overly-sweet mulberries combining perfectly. :) We also make strawberry jam and apple/corncob jelly nearly every year.