It's Strawberry Season!

in DIYHub7 months ago

My little "everbearing" strawberry patch is all plant and no berries. I picked about 2 cups of them the first time I saw red berries, but since then there has only been the occasional blossom and no more berries. Obviously, something is not suiting them.

So I decided I should go to a U-Pick farm for strawberries, even though it is late in the season for them. I knew I could travel all the way to Green Bluff, but it's quite a drive, and I had no interest in spending all that time and gas to go pick berries. So I searched online and found a new U-Pick place near Rathdrum, Idaho, which is closer for me to drive to than Green Bluff. According to their social media post, last week was going to be their final week open for picking. It indicated there were "hundreds of pounds" of berries left, but would require some searching to find.

The farm is on a road I rarely have occasion to use, so it's no wonder I had no idea it existed. While I was there, two young daughters of the owner rode up on bicycles and fell into conversation with me, so I learned this was their first year open for U-Pick. If it had been there five years and I'd never heard of it, I would have really been annoyed!


The road to the field was just a track where the weeds had been cut down, yet it looked inviting to me.


I wouldn't want to meet another car driving out on this curve.


Soon I arrived at the pop-up canopy set up for self-service. The following sign welcomed me, and further instructions were on the back of it.


And this lovely field of strawberry plants stretched out opposite the canopy. Looking at that sky, you'd never know a fast-moving thunderstorm had gone through about an hour earlier.


Buckets and plastic bag liners were provided. I arbitrarily selected a row and began to pick. There were still plenty of berries, but a little persistence was required to fill a bucket.


It took me about 30-40 minutes to pick 5 pounds of berries. I would have liked to have picked twice that many, but 1) my knees were complaining, and 2) it was beginning to get rather warm, and 3) I knew I would need to reserve enough ambition to deal with all the berries I took home with me.


So I weighed my berries, paid for them in the cash box provided, and headed for home. Once I had cleaned myself up, it was time to rinse the berries off as well.


Next, I took off the caps and crushed the amount of berries specified by the recipe in the pectin box. I used my ancient potato masher, as usual.


Next, I measured the sugar into a bowl. Yes, that's a lot of sugar, but I can't imagine making jam without sugar. I guess some people find a way, but I haven't.


As directed, I mixed 1/4 cup of that sugar with the box of pectin, stirred it into the berries, brought it to a full rolling boil, added the remainder of the sugar, brought it to another full rolling boil, and stirred and cooked for "exactly 1 minute." Really, how exact can that be? It's difficult to tell when a genuine full rolling boil is reached, so I always hope they really meant "exactly 1 minute, give or take 15 seconds."


Then I filled the hot jars with hot jam, added lids and rings I'd been keeping hot in a small kettle, and processed them in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. (That includes 5 minutes extra for our elevation.)


And here is the finished product. They all sealed. Yay!


Now, I didn't turn every last berry I'd picked into jam. I also baked a shortcake, and topped my slice with whipped topping and berries. That's my version of strawberry shortcake.


I returned to that berry farm three days later, hoping to pick more to freeze. There weren't many left, and even greater perseverance was required to fill a bucket. I settled for 8 pounds, froze some, made another batch of jam, and left plenty to eat with another shortcake. Now that I know this farm exists, next year I plan to pay attention and get there to pick berries while they are plentiful.

All photos taken on my Android phone.


Oh, yes!!! This was a great year for berries! Fruit. In general! I've put up more than we can possibly eat, so I may use a few to send out at Christmas.

That is exciting when you find a decent Upick and closer than you bargained for. The color of the jam is delicious!!

What other fruit do they have? I just finished blueberries! The wooded area was full of them.

Hello! Hello!

And hello to you, too! I believe they have raspberries, too, but I have my own patch so didn't focus on that. I have two blueberry bushes, and am still learning what makes them happy. It looks as if we'll get a few berries this year, but I plan to go to a different U-Pick farm for more of those in a couple of weeks. Huckleberries grow wild in this area, but at higher elevations, so a drive is needed to find some. We go sometimes, but not every year. I'm usually too busy with the garden to take a whole day to search for/pick huckleberries. They are small, and tedious to harvest.

My blueberry bushes didn't do well, but, the woods have plenty, so I have supplemented them. I do love blueberry everything. Ohhh! Huckleberries! I have my own blackberry and raspberry patches, so I am all good there.

This is such a wonderful time of year! I have something called beach plums and my,oh,my! Hard to come by, but, they are delicious!!

Looking good there! Hi! Ho! It is off to pick I go!

You made me drool and ache in one post lol. I haven't put anything up since my last marriage. I do miss it. Nice photos.

Drool and ache! That's a great way to put it. Nice to hear from you.

It's great to see you, too.

There's nothing quite like a fresh-picked berry. Those look beautiful, too.

Since it was the end of the season, there were many small ones along with the big, impressive ones, but the flavor was great regardless of size.

That seems like a huge field of strawberries. They look sooo tasty too!

It's a very nice field. They don't spray their berries,which I appreciate. It means you have to reach around few weeds, but I can live with that.

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