Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making Strawberry Jam

I know y'all haven't heard much from me in the past few days. I'm sorry about that but, to tell the truth, I haven't had much time to even think about my absence here. I've been happy when I got time to sit - and since it takes even more energy to think than it does to sit, thinking really wasn't on the to-do list! (I'm joking, of course.)

Not that being busy is bad - it's life. I love the times during spring and summer when I feel like I'm outdoors all day every day. It sure beats cabin fever!

I've been sunburned twice in the past two weeks, and May isn't even over yet! Some years I can go all summer without a burn, so if this is a sign of things to come "our light little Amber will be a brownie by the end of summer," as Mom says.

My brother Curtis and I have been asked to work at a farm a handful of days every month through the summer - that is where the sunburns have been coming from. The lady who owns the farm opens it up to field trips, and our job is to help with some of the different activities. I help the children plant flower seeds, while Curtis gives pony rides. (I like to help with the pony rides when I can. Much more fun! :)

But I've also been in the garden quite a bit - another good place to get sun! Our tomatoes have gotten tall enough to tie to their stakes, and the peas are blossoming like crazy. I expect to be freezing them anytime now - after we eat our fill of fresh ones, of course.

I looked back through some of my records, and realized that last year on May 23rd I was freezing strawberries and making strawberry jam. This year I'm ahead of myself, for that's what I've been doing the past two days, and that is one reason I haven't touched this blog. Twenty-four pounds of strawberries takes awhile to put up!

I wish it were FORTY-four pounds of berries, since they are my favorite berry....but I don't think I'd have the energy to deal with them. I'm just glad I finished twenty-four pounds! Mom, Heather, and my three youngest siblings did all the picking yesterday morning while Curtis and I were working at the farm, and I volunteered to do all the preserving when we got home.

Going from the hot sun all morning to the hot kitchen all afternoon, and then mid-week church service at night, is a great way to fall asleep fast at night. Yesterday was packed with activity! Today hasn't been exactly slow, either. *grin* But all the berries are finished! I made about 6 quarts of jam and froze the rest of the berries whole. I wish I had pictures, know...too busy to find the camera. I tried 3 different recipes, and I guess we'll see which one will set the best.

Strawberries are almost always the first crop we preserve. This year we grew some strawberries in our garden, but we only picked about 15 so far, so I'm glad we have other places to go picking. Broccoli, lettuce, and spinach has come in from our garden as well, but none of that has been enough to preserve. Now that we've actually frozen some food I feel like summer has begun!

Okay - strawberries are done. That leaves:

~ Blueberries (go picking in June? Or do those come in during July?)
~ Beets (Canned)
~ Carrots (Frozen - if we don't eat them all fresh)
~ Potatoes (No need to touch these - just dig them up and put them in crates!)
~ Peas (Coming soon!)
~ Tomatoes (Lots of sauce!!!)
~ Corn (I can almost promise you that none of this is making it to the freezer!)
~ Cucumbers (pickles!)
~ Squash and Zucchini (I think we're dehydrating it this year, except maybe freezing some shredded zucchini.)
~ Beans (Canned)

Nope - I don't think there's any danger of my becoming bored this spring and summer.

Thank you, Lord, for such bountiful, beautiful, blessings!


Anna said...

YUM!!! I love strawberries! I'm planning on planting some this fall...hopefully!
Anna W

The Road in Patience said...

What a list!, Heh luckily since I am too afraid of getting sunburned I haven't had to deal with burns for years! Thanks to all the sunscreen I put on. =D

Sarah said...

It certainly sounds like you have been busy, Amber! And how wonderful that you were able to put up so many strawberries! I am sure you all will be enjoying the fruits of that labor for some time to come. :)