Preserving Strawberries

by Cynthia

In my last post on Friday I wrote about my family’s little trip to a U-pick strawberry farm. I mentioned I was going to be busy making lots of jam with the amount of berries we ended up coming home with. I had originally wanted to post these pictures over the weekend but time got away from me so here they are today instead. Better late than never!

Jars of strawberry jam against the Oregon sky

We had so many berries and they were so ripe and ready to eat. The only down side to them being so late in the season was the fact that they were rather small. I did not feel like freezing such tiny berries so I ended up making preserves on top of strawberry jam. I have never made strawberry preserves before- just jam. The preserves did not set up as nicely as the jam since the recipe did not call for pectin to be added. The preserves consisted of three simple ingredients: strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.

Strawberry preserves- nearly one jar down!

We ended up having our homemade pancakes the next morning for breakfast instead of for dinner that Friday night as I was too tired from putting up all those strawberries! We used the preserves on the pancakes which were so good seeing that the preserves did not jell up as much as the jam. Plus I like the large chunks of berries the preserves have.

Preserves on homemade pancakes

I am bracing myself for the next few months as I have a lot of preserving and canning planned. I am making it my goal to can as much fresh produce as possible to have for the rainy and cold winter months (that seem to last forever here in Oregon!). The blackberries are just a few weeks away from being ready and the first few crops of cherries are starting to roll in. Also by mid-July there will be the blueberries and I know a great farm for those. At the same time the blueberries are ready, the lavender farms are having their festivals. Then come August I will try canning tomatoes from the garden for the first time ever (we usually gobble them up before they get a chance to see a single canning jar!). On top of the tomatoes there will be the U-pick peaches that we plan on devouring. September will bring pears galore from the Fruit Loop. Not long after that the apples will be ready for more U-pick family fun which will find me making applesauce, pies, and apple butter. Oh, and let’s not forget that all the herbs I grow still need to be gathered and dried. This is of course on top of keeping the garden healthy and happy! This time of year can bring a frenzy of activity when it comes to harvesting and preserving summer’s bounty but I would not have it any other way!

I have been taking an interest in drying food for preservation as well and might give that a try this year. How about you? Are you planning on preserving some of your harvest this year and, if so, how?

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