It’s now peak season for strawberry picking – a full two weeks earlier than normal! This is the first season in more than 40 years of growing strawberries that Farmer Jones has opened the fields in May for picking, and with all of the warm weather the berries keep on ripening!
Yesterday EVERYONE worked together to pick more than 1,000 pounds of strawberries to fill our walk-in refrigerator. Today the summer interns are hard at work in the kitchen, hulling each berry and cutting off any rotten spots. The berries will be stored in three-gallon buckets in the freezer until this winter when they will be made into DELICIOUS strawberry jam.
In addition to filling the freezer with nearly half a ton of berries, the pigs also enjoyed a feast – we filled eight 5-gallon buckets with the caps of the berries! What a treat!
Thankfully we have PLENTY of recipes that use strawberries – from savory salads to sweet desserts. The frozen berries will be great in sorbet, granita, smoothies, hot cereal, and TONS of jam.
If you’re looking for an alternative to jam, this Whole Berrry Strawberry Syrup is an excellent way to preserve strawberries for winter. It has less sugar than most jams and does not require pectin (the gelling agent in jam, usually purchased commercially). The syrup tastes great on ice cream, pancakes, and many other delicious treats!
3 pounds strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
- To wash strawberries, first sort out any that are damaged or underripe. Place them in a bowl of fresh water and use your hand to swirl the berries around the bowl, so that any dirt will settle to the bottom. Use your hand to gently lift the berries out of the water and place on a paper towel.
- To hull strawberries, slowly twist the leaves and remove the core, being careful not to damage the fruit.
- In a large pot, mix the sugar and water over low heat until the sugar has dissovled. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Drop in half of the strawberries. Return to a boil and cook the strawberries for one minute.
- Using a perforated spoon, transfer the strawberries to a colander set inside a large bowl to catch the dripping juice. Repeat the cooking process with the other half of the strawberries.
- Once the strawberries have been strained, add the remaining juice ot the pot. Boil the syrup for about 5 minutes, or until it has been redued to its original volume.
- Pour the drained strawberries into the syrup. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Be careful not to crush the strawberries.
- When the strawberries are coated in the syrup, remove the pan from the heat. Ladle into hot, sanitized canning jars. Cover the jars and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes to seal the jars.