Last weekend, the kids and I hit up Picha Farms in Puyallup, Washington, for some strawberry picking. They are currently offering u-pick strawberries for $1.50 a pound and the strawberries are just beautiful! (Make sure to follow their Facebook page for updates on availability if you’re interested).
At first, the kids were a bit skeptical about strawberry picking. My son’s biggest concern is that we’d be home in time to set up the lemonade stand I’d been promising to let them do for a few weeks now. He had decided awhile ago it *needed* to start at 11am, so I said we’d do our best.
I don’t think this grumpy face was intentional on her part – but it does pretty much sum up my daughter’s feeling about produce. So yes, lest you think my kids go out to my garden and are content to eat raw kale for lunch, let’s keep it real a moment. I have one picky eater. Yes, I do. However, I’ve not given up on her yet and I will make a plant eater out of her! Instead of treating food like a punishment, my approach has been to drag her to the farmer’s market, include her in our gardening adventures, and take her to farms. While she may look rather pissed off holding this strawberry, the truth is she can identify many vegetables and herbs both in the ground and in the produce section. We’ll get there.
Picking the strawberries is actually quite easy. They assigned us our own “row” to pick from. When we were finished, we put a flag in the ground to indicate where we’d stop and where the next pickers could be begin.
We picked for about an hour, and managed to pick…
Just over 20 pounds! I was so surprised we picked that amount so quickly! So word to the wise…when you go strawberry picking? Bring some helpers!
Now what to do with all those berries? Of course there are lots of things you could, the simplest of which would be to simply freeze them. But I did want to can up some pretty strawberry jam to put up!
I decided to check out one of my favorite blogs, Food in Jars, for some inspiration. I found it with this Strawberry Vanilla jam. You let the macerated strawberries sit overnight with a split vanilla bean and 2 cups of sugar. I double batched this and made another small bowl for Strawberry Shortcake for Father’s Day (it was delicious, by the way!).
This jam is just heavenly! My son begged to try some while it was still warm, so I drizzled it over a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. I had to sample some myself later on a few crackers. Beautiful!
This morning, I tested the jars for proper seal. Here’s the final result: 9 half-pint jars and 4 pint jars. I’m thinking the prettier pint-size jars in the front will be gifts. We probably used about 10-11 pounds of the berries to yield this amount, too! The remaining strawberries need to get processed today so I’m thinking of throwing a good mess of them into the dehydrator, and freezing some for green smoothies. My son wants me to make homemade strawberry ice cream, and I’m thinking homemade strawberry liqueur sounds divine, too!
If you want to repeat this recipe, please head to Food in Jars for step-by-step instructions.
- 2013 Puget Sound Farm Guide (refer to this handy post if you’re looking for a farm to u-pick!)
- Five Misconceptions I had about Canning
- Homemade Strawberry Jam (no pectin, soft set recipe)
- Dehydrating Fruit in your Oven
- Wild Blackberry Picking & Preserving
- Homemade Blackberry Vodka