If you can't grow your own do the next best thing... PICK SOMEONE ELSES!!
The family and I drove over to Sam Kedem's Farm in Hastings yesterday and picked over 12 pounds of big juicy organic strawberries. Sam is the only one I know that grows organic PYO fruits, at least within driving distance from my house so we visit his farm several times a summer to get blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Since I didn't get started until later in the evening I only canned 3 jars of strawberry jam. As you can probably tell by my photo collage my jars have that ugly foamy swirl in them. I've read in one of my Ball canning books that the foam can lessen the shelf life of the jam so I'll make sure to eat them in the next month. I should have spent some time scraping off that frothy mess but I was just so darn excited to making jam again that I didn't pay attention to that last step.
Anyone have an opinion on the foamy stuff that appears when boiling the strawberries? To what extent does it shorten the shelf life?
For anyone else that would like to try making strawberry jam I have two recommendations:
My friend Teresa turned me on to this ebook by her friend Robin. It is very informative! I've always struggled to find good canning books that are easy to understand for the beginner but also contain recipes that even the experienced canner will enjoy (once I get there); Robin's book is perfect!
The other "very easy" go to source for canning strawberries is this video:
I don't recommend the video for those wanting to learn about canning per se but more for those who just want to whip up a small batch of strawberry jam quickly without getting into all the details about canning.
I can't help but be envious of my friends who have a bumper crop of strawberries this year. I planted strawberries 5 years ago and it seems, once again, that I made an error.
My friend Teresa (domestic goddess, writing genius, homesteader extraordinaire) over at Homestead Notes is my go-to person when I struggle with gardening (and pretty much everything in life) and I've learned from her hubby that my crop of strawberries are just too old to give me the bounty that I really crave *sigh. So, it seems I may have to start all over.
This year I was so pleased with myself for actually getting my butt to the garden store to pick up some hay. It took me 5 yrs to learn that hay needs to be spread below the patch of berries (if they are as sparse as mine are) to keep the berries clean and to help avoid rotting. In years passed we'd get an ok amount of berries but either the birds would eat them or they'd rot immediately. Well... the hay is in place but I highly doubt we'll get any strawberries since my patch is too old. Just look at them, 90% of these were planted 5 years ago... they should have multiplied by now.
I did have them in raised garden boxes which I don't think helped very much since the runners had nowhere to go, so I did remove those this year.
If anyone has any advice on how you started up your patch and made them flourish, please let me know.
I've also planted a variety of strawberry plants together and wonder now if that was a mistake :(
I wasn't sure if I should blog about this or not because I'm not 100% sure the person who made these for me wants her art out in the world but I just couldn't help myself.
I was given these as a gift a little while back and it was a complete surprise. The young woman who gave them to me is a gifted artist. I've been telling her she should sell her art on etsy or join in on some art fairs but she maintains that she only enjoys drawing as a way to relax, nothing more.
So to M.E.F... I am very touched by the fact you took the time to draw these for me. They will not end up on a shelf or in some closet, they will be on full display in my home for all that enter to see and appreciate. Thank you so much for thinking of me, the wolves are beautiful and YOU are very very talented.
Nothing gets me back into the blogging groove like a giveaway. If you enjoy handmade items than this blog post is for you.
I am part of a card swapping group over at Splitcoast Stampers. Every month a group of us ladies swap handmade cards with one another. Well... when you swap 10 cards every single month you end up with a whole lotta cards, so... I'm going to give some away.
All of the cards that I receive are beautiful so whomever wins won't be disappointed. I went through the bunch I've collected and picked out my favorites to give away. There will be 2 winners, 5 cards for each winner. I've selected 2 birthday cards, 2 holiday cards and 1 thank you card for each. All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is tell me what your favorite season is and why :-)
I will use Random.org to choose the two winners. Deadline to enter is June 10th, I'll announce the winner on June 11th. Please make sure to check back to see if you won so I can get your mailing address (through private messaging of course) and send your cards out no later than Monday, June 12th.
If all goes well with this giveaway (meaning: enough people interested) I plan on doing a giveaway every two weeks over the summer. Why you ask? Because Every one loves to win things and receive packages in the mail, plus it motivates me to be create on a regular basis.
Some of my giveaway ideas: candles, soap, wool dryer balls, hemp bracelet, yarn. So please check back often :-)