Earlier this week, the kids and I went strawberry picking at a U-Pick Farm. I was so excited prior to the picking day! Not only were the strawberries just $1.25 per pound, but I can still remember going strawberry picking with my Mom, so I was pleased to be able to start forming those same memories with the kids.
As an added bonus to our trip, I had emailed out to my homeschooling group about when we planned on going, and was pleased to have three other families decide to join us as well. Of course, this did mean that my kids that I thought might be good pickers (but I should have known better) were even less help, as they happily chatted away with the family in the row next to us. (I wasn’t too upset though, as this is not a family they knew, and they got along really well right away. So, that was nice.)
It’s funny (and probably a sign of some of those differences between being a kid and being an adult), I remember strawberry picking being very fun and I remember eating lots of strawberries. Nowhere in my memory do I recall being horribly tired and sore that night. Now, however, even a couple of days later, I still have a very strong memory of it (especially since my legs are still sore).
We picked for just under an hour, and we left the farm with 17 pounds of strawberries. And, I left knowing that I had a lot of work ahead of me.
First, I hulled and washed all of the berries. (I mostly just hulled them with my thumb nail, as this wasted the least amount of berry. (However, I also used a little hulling tool for part of the time as well.)
After the hulling and washing, I moved on to making only the second pie that I have ever made before. It was so tasty, however, we are now calling it Mama’s Ugly Strawberry Pie. You know, because it was ugly. There just seemed to be too much liquid, and it got everywhere. Still, like I said, it sure was tasty! (If you’re going to fail at making a food, if it’s tasty, it helps to make up for the failure.)
I then moved on to making strawberry freezer jam. I made three batches (using about six pounds of strawberries), and ended up with 18 containers of jam. We got to try it for the first time tonight at dinner and it was delicious. We had breakfast for dinner, so it was a perfect opportunity for toast with butter and jam. In interest of full disclosure, I will share that at least some of us then moved on to trying cottage cheese and strawberry jam, as well as bacon and strawberry jam. Yeah, you read that right. And, as far as I’m concerned, they were all winners.
After making jam, I flash froze both whole berries and quartered berries. I will use these for a variety of uses, but especially for making smoothies. This will be a much more frugal option than buying bags of frozen strawberries to add to my smoothies!
My next to last stop in strawberry processing was to quarter berries and mix them with sugar. I let it set for just a few minutes before putting this mixture into one cup portions to freeze.
And finally, we got out some melting chocolates and had some “fondue” for dessert, including our new berries, bananas, marshmallows, and graham crackers. Delicious!
What are your favorite things to do with strawberries? Do you pick strawberries (or anything else) at U-Pick Farms?
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