We go strawberry picking every year. I love that it's become a tradition and it makes me wish I was blogging way back when it all started. It's fun to look back and reread posts from 2009 and 2010. Yes, I have many pictures from earlier years, but before I began blogging I never took the time to capture in words what our days were like. I wish I could read an entry on the first berry picking outing wearing Max in a Babybjorn!
We usually go early in the season, with hopes of beating the heat. But this year, for a variety of reasons, we did not find ourselves at a field until the end of May. And it was hot. So hot, in fact, that I hardly took pictures because I was dripping sweat and decided tucking my camera away for safe keeping seemed prudent. Mental note: research and purchase a backup point and shoot!
More proof that the heat was relentless: both Leo and Will fell out almost immediately and retreated to the sandbox. But not Max. Heat does not affect our oldest child...never has. He picked his share and then some. Thank goodness, too, as he easily made up for his absentee brothers. He even outpicked me. And I'm happy to report that an 8 year-old's judgment concerning pick-worthy strawberries is leaps and bounds from a 7 year-old's...the difference a year makes both excites and saddens me, to be honest.
We went home with two flats and I did a quick batch of jam. I used the same recipe as last year, though mixed things up by springing for some new jars I found at a hardware store.
Aren't they cute? I think so. But I must say, I am not sure if I'll ever buy them again...their squatty aesthetic might be charming but it also makes them a pain to fish out of my deep pot. Plus, my canner, which usually handles nearly a dozen jam jars, could barely afford the width of four of these jars and stacking was not exactly working out. All of this matters, why? Because, again, it was hot as blazes...and multiple batches of hot bath processing heating up my kitchen was not what the doctor ordered.
On the bright side, since I had everything out and was cranky and hot anyway, I decided to can anything else available. So when I spied some perfectly ripe champagne mangos in our fruit bowl, I chopped them up, added some sugar and cooked until syrupy. I manage to get enough to fill and process three jars. We are now huge fans of mango sauce with our pancakes, smoothies, and yogurt. I will need to make more soon and will hopefully remember to write down a makeshift recipe.
p.s. I almost forgot. I also made strawberry syrup. The boys have declared a certain pancake recipe "it" and this syrup is earmarked for the next several Breakfast for Dinner evenings we have planned throughout summer. I love breakfast for dinner.