Strawberry Fields Forever
A couple of weeks ago we interns were introduced to the strawberry field seen here.
We were told that in a week or two all of the beautiful white flowers would mature into strawberries! This patch of strawberries is a crop that was planted last year. It takes about a year for the first fruit so in order to be successful in the strawberry market you might have two patches, one for harvesting and one for planting. As the weeks rolled by we were brought out to the field again to see a new sight. Strawberries hidden away under the leaves in abundance!
In just an hours we were able to pick more than 12 of these boxes and then some. Leaving the green on the strawberry is important because it helps keep the strawberry fresh for longer. It is also important to pick the strawberry at the right time, unlike most fruit, the strawberry stops maturing after it is picked so make sure its ripe when you pick it!
Once we had lots of beautiful, fresh strawberries we were able to make jam with them. We were given a recipe to follow and with simple things like sugar, pectin and naturally smashed strawberries you can have fresh and delicious freezer jam! We also made a cooked batch of jam that would qualify as a preserve because it can last a long time without refrigeration. The cooked jam is made similarly to the freezer jam but you boil it all in a big pot and let it thicken. Then you carefully pour the hot jam into mason jars to and seal airtight. In order to get a good seal you must wipe off the top of each jar. Any particles of sugar will keep it from a tight seal and might compromise the longevity of your jam. Canned jam can last at two years or more on the shelf.
This was an amazing experience learning about strawberries and everything you can do with them. Can’t wait for more to come and to keep on living sustainably!