Strawberry Jam

I went out for another hour this morning and picked strawberries with Johann. Actually, he chased butterflies and I picked. I seem to be averaging a cup of berries in an hour. When I came back in and took a look at my berries we had 6 cups total, 5 when mashed up a little. Perfect for a batch of jam. Strawberry jam is very easy to make, I did it in about a half hour today, with Johann’s help!

See where Johann is hiding?

 

Today's pick

 

Three days of picking for one batch of jam…

Wild Strawberry Jam

6-7 cups of berries (should be 5 cups when crushed slightly)

7 cups sugar

1 box pectin

Put the berries and pectin in a stockpot and set the stove to medium high. Stir frequently. When it comes to a boil, add the sugar gradually, stirring all the time. When the jam comes back up to a boil, let boil for 3 minutes and ladle into clean jars. Lid with dome lids that have been boiled and tighten the rings quickly. I use a canning funnel and don’t get jam on the rim of the jar, but if you do, wipe it off with a a paper towel before you put on the dome lid. Let them cool, and check for seal when cool. I am hearing my dome lids go “Tink!” every so often as I write this and they seal down. Even if a jar doesn’t seal, you can put it in the frig to eat soon. I made 7 half-pint jars today, the recipe will usually make 8.

a towel on the table, sterilized jars, and the book I get recipes from.

 

Jam on the boil. It will foam up, so keep an eye on it and stir often.

 

The finished product! Ruby red and so flavorful!

Making the Farm Beautiful

The pear tree in the front is the sterile variety, but I can forgive it when it becomes a cloud of blossom every spring.

Landscaping the front of the farm has been the lowest priority for the last few years. This year I was determined to make it, not into a showpiece, but at least neat and pretty. Showpiece will have to wait a year or two until new plants mature! Saturday we picked up two loads of mulch. The truck will hold a yard of mulch at a go, so we have two yards, plus the bags I’d bought the other day. Unfortunately, the cedar mulch I bought is blonde, and the bark mulch yesterday is a brunette.  I’m trying to blend it. I’m using broken bricks for edging, because we have a bunch from a project Dad started and then gave up on. And lots of little annuals going in the edges of beds, so it will be colorful later. I’ll take more pictures then!

This bed in the gap between the Garage and Farm lane has a Pee Gee Hydrangea and four blueberries.

This bed has three blueberries, a bunch of volunteer wild strawberries, and more!

I like to practice edible landscaping, and most of my flower beds have more than decorative plants in them. Also, as they are the first zone around the house, and thus the easiest to care for and harvest from, I will put herbs and veggies in them until my kitchen garden is ready to plant. The bed in the above photograph has mint and thyme in it already. The wild strawberries decided they like it, and when they started to come up I’ve left them alone, hoping for berries this year. At the upper part of the bed you will see a bright blue barrel, one of the rain barrels. It saves steps on watering both this bed, and the chicks who are being brooded in the garage.

Close-up of the wild strawberries.

Looking from the garage to the house.

I’m still only halfway around the drive, I still want to mulch cover the crescent bed in the center. The big Bradford Pear is there, and a volunteer Butternut we’ve decided to let grow there. I planted 7 bayberries there this spring, as they are resistant to road salt. Dad lined the road edge a few years back with a short rock wall, and arbor vitae. Hopefully they will get big enough in years to come to shield the house from the road to some extent. The bed is still a work in progress. There is a well established patch of comfrey and I’ve put some daylilies in, as well as my mother’s day snowball bush. But the raspberries have taken over. Our wild raspberries are almost useless, as they are prone to a virus that prevents them from setting fruit.

This bed still needs a lot of work.

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