Monday, July 1, 2013

Out & About: Strawberry Fields Forever

Though I was working most of the weekend, I was thrilled to have the Saturday off so I could head up to my Poppy's cottage for a relaxing day. My grandparents are very "homestyle" people, and my Poppy in particular prefers almost everything to be homemade - especially jam. Every summer they head out to pick berries - strawberries at the beginning of the season, blueberries near the end - and make everything from jams to pies to crisps to everything in between. After a nice lunch,  my mom and I headed out to the nearby berry patch to pick our own. It had been awhile since my last berry pick, so I needed a few reminders on how to get the most out of our time.
Here are my tips:

1. Know when to go.
Keep up to date with your local farm's fruit seasons. The end of June and beginning of July is usually the best time for strawberries (go now!). This way you can be sure the berries will be ripe, but not completely picked through.

2. Bring your own baskets.
You'll be saving a lot of money picking your own berries so you may as well save some more by bringing your own carriers - whether they're previously used berry baskets or old ice cream containers - anything will do.

3. Wear pants, closed shoes and sunscreen. This may seem obvious but as a person with a tendency to be barefoot, I always need this reminder. You'll be in the middle of a field, walking on hay, in the summer - there'll be bugs, mud, and sun - so protect yourself!

4. Pick berries that are plump, fully red, and firm, close to the stem. Yellow-ish coloured berries won't be fully ripe and you'll be disappointed with your fruit. Berries that are darker in colour can be too soft, and often go bad quickly. Be a gentle picker.

We plan on making classic strawberry jam out of ours (recipe post to come!) but I also plan on freezing some for smoothies, pie fillings and other desserts as well as keeping some fresh for my favourite, strawberry shortcake.

No comments:

Post a Comment