Strawberries!

Well, all of that heat earlier this week has resulted in a boomer crop of strawberries, all ripening at once!

After picking about 2 pounds of beautiful mixed baby lettuces while it was still nice and cool this morning, we were shocked when we sauntered over to the strawberry patch and saw so many ripe berries!

Here’s one of about 4 or 5 bowls picked JUST this morning, fresh from the field:

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Mind you, we’re also helping pick strawberries for the Wingates at Studio Farm.  They have 500 plants ALSO ripening like mad these days.  We spent the better part of the morning picking there yesterday, and they were kind enough to pay us in beautiful heirloom vegetable plants for our garden!  I’ve also requested canning lessons as part of our “payment!”  I love bartering with wonderfully experienced gardeners and home canners!

SO – what do we do with all of those gorgeous strawberries?

First, it’s washing and hulling.  We measured out enough for a few batches of freezer jam (since I don’t can, and freezer jam is so nice because the fruit doesn’t need to be cooked.)  The excess was happily snacked upon, and the rest is getting frozen for smoothies and milkshakes.  Wont’ it be awesome to pull out a bag of vine ripened strawberries in December?!

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The girls got right to work on the freezer jam.  Mashing the berries is the fun part.  Then you stir in the fruit pectin and sugar:  

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After it sets up for a few minutes, it goes into the jars.

Here’s a few filled:

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Middle daughter got fancy with the labels:

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And eldest got fancy with the fabric:

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Hungry yet?

Then the girls tried to get fancy with the camera (anything to delay getting back to school!)

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Oops!  Someone’s hand is in the way!

OK – I think this is it…looks like something from the cover of a magazine, doesn’t it?  

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Guess what’s for lunch at Morning Star Meadows today?

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