Planning to pick strawberries

Okay, I’ve decided! I’m going to go to a U-Pick strawberry farm and pick lots and lots of strawberries and make jam! I’ve never made jam. But, I’m really into the idea of being able to have some locally produced food, not just during the summer harvesting season but also in the cold Maine winter. So, I found a local U-Pick farm and here is their picking update for tomorrow.

“We will reopen for picking on Thursday starting at 7:30 in the morning. This will be our third day of picking in a 25 day or so season. We will be closed some days to allow the berries to ripen. Picking conditions on Thursday will be excellent. Those wishing to pick in the afternoon, please call ahead just before coming to the farm to make sure we have plenty of ripe berries to pick.”

Wah! I can’t go! I so want to go! But, aside from that whole work thing, the lawn tractor repairman is coming sometime between 8a-5pm (uh thanks for narrowing it down for me) and DH is going crazy looking at our overgrown lawn and not being able to mow it. Hopefully, there will be some good picking weather next week and I will go then. I will just have to keep checking. I didn’t realize the picking season was only 25 days long! There is a farm just down the street, but their sign says that their U-Pick is closed for the season for some reason. So, this one looks great, but it’s about 30 minutes away.

So, can anyone point me in the right direction for how to make jam?

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4 Responses

  1. Good luck with the jamming. I hope you get a chance to get out there to pick. Yeah the seasons really are short… some times there is only a window of a week or two. If you don’t get out yourself, at least buy them from a local farm stand. Keeps that whole eat local thing going. Then once picked… you really only have a 24-48 (at most) hour window to clean, prep and jam. So sometimes buying the berries just makes the process much more doable.

    As for a recipe… honestly just use the one that comes with the Sure Jell packets. That is the recipe with which we have always had the best luck.

    BTW if you don’t get to it at all… be assured you will still have some homemade jam come the holidays ;).

  2. Oh here is the Sure Jell site…
    http://www.kraftfoods.com/surejell/sj_recipes.html

    They have recipes and instructions on jamming. We prefer the cooked jams over the freezer jams.

  3. Even if the berry picking isn’t great, it’s still worth going out. Kids feel such a sense of ownership of the jam when they helped pick the berries. So, even if you just pick a quart, and have to add berries you buy, they will still feel like they contributed. When strawberry jammin’, the kids went out to my meager strawberry patch in the yard and added a few berries to the ones we picked at the farm. So, the jam was made with berries from Gammy’s garden, too! BTW making jam is really quite easy, just time consuming but sooooo worth it!

  4. There are purest who won’t use any form of pectin when making jam, but having gone both ways, Sure Jell jams turn out great everytime. Without the pectin your jam can turn out runny. Much more finicky BUT it will still taste great and can always be used as sauce for ice cream or cheese cake but as a jam…too messy.

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