My mom used to make homemade strawberry jam when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of being yelled at for attempting to place half a container of jam on one piece of buttered toast. I decided this would be a great place to dive into local foods by picking and making my own jam and maybe giving me the ability to place as much on my toast as I want to now.
Well, strawberry season, as I have learned, only really lasts a good 2 weeks and as anyone with 3 kids knows, if you blink, you will miss it. One of the most difficult habit changes I am going through right now is, if you see something good, BUY IT!! I can’t keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll get it next time I go to the store.” I saw strawberries at the Farmer’s Market the first week they were in season, but because of swim lessons, hippotherapy/horseback riding, and relative’s visiting, I wrongly thought I didn’t want to make time to make the jam yet. I figured I still had time to figure out a good place to pick them or I would just buy them next week. Another week passed and by the time I could get the kids over to the farmer’s market that week (only 2 hours after it opened) all the strawberries were sold. I spoke with Farmer Kate from Willow Pond Community Farm and word on the street at the Farmer’s Market was that Monahan’s Farm had a bumper crop.
Isabella and I were able to make it to Monahan’s Farm at 8:00am on Sunday morning. And in true 3 year old fashion, as soon as we’d walked our way up to the strawberry field, she asked, “Can I go to the bathroom?” Luckily, Monahan’s has a port-a-potty at the farmstand, in case you are wondering. I was starting to think, that local strawberry picking is a cutthroat business, especially after having to climb the shelves at the grocery store for the last remaining fruit pectin box laying down at the very back top shelf. Needless to say, we picked about 4 quarts of strawberries between the two of us.
The process of making the jam was surprisingly easy. Unfortunately, I did not pick nearly enough strawberries to last the winter months. We are eating one 2 cup container now, and I am freezing the other 2 cup container for Christmas I guess.
Thank goodness raspberry season lasts much longer and peaches will be in soon too. I am ready for it. I’m going to stock up on fruit pectin and I know Monahan’s Farm won’t let me down. I’ll also be freezing fruit whole next time for making smoothies. A favorite drink in our family.
I have to say, the experience was well worth the effort. I am still looking forward to finding and making more local foods. I overheard Isabella saying this is the best strawberry jam ever!