…which has all but ended now…

I’m finally updating you on our strawberry season fun! (Thanks to the fact that I was about to dive into make supremely wonderful Molasses Crinkles and realized I don’t have enough molasses…)

Have you ever eaten an Oregon strawberry?

Our 6lbs. strawberries getting a bath.

Well, if you’re not from Oregon, then probably not. But they’re like candy. Seriously, the sweetest, little red-all-the-way-through berries you’ll ever sink your teeth into. But, I might be biased.

This last year I’ve been really missing Oregon strawberries. Growing up we always had strawberry freezer jam and frozen strawberries in our freezer, so this first (near) year of marriage has been sad with out my sweet little red berries. I even went as far as buying strawberry jam in the grocery store (YUCK!).

Side note – if you’ve always had grocery store jar jam, you are missing out on some amazing jams. They don’t compare AT ALL. Poor C will probably be the one finishing the store jam because he doesn’t mind it – unless we can find it a suitable home. Anyone? Anyone?

But, back to the main story….since I was missing them so desperately this last year, I knew I had to pick some this year. So my mom and I made an excursion to the farms to pick. Unfortunately, thanks to this lovely cold, wet Oregon summer (which actually I do like), we ended up very damp and muddy – hence the lack of field pictures…

I did end up with a couple of baskets full of wonderful, red berries – six pounds in total, which I realized was still not quite enough for everything I wanted to do with them. I’ll have to pick more next year!

So what did we do with them?

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Seriously, if you have not had homemade freezer jam made from fresh, local berries, you are missing out. The beauty of freezer jam is that it’s not cooked, so you get all the lovely fresh strawberry taste preserved all year long!

I used a packet of Sur-Jell for this. My mom made a batch with a different brand, and we decided that the Sur-Jell was better (it had fewer ingredients and required no corn syrup). We haven’t done a taste test, but I figure that the less ingredients, the better. I want to taste STRAWBERRIES and nothing else (well, the sugar is good too). I’m not posting the recipe here as you need to follow the recipe in the packet of pectin you get – it varies from brand to brand.

I definitely finger-licked this bowl clean...is that bad?

I made one batch, but smushed up enough strawberries and froze them to make a whole other batch of the jam. Our freezer doesn’t quite have enough space for 6 jars of jam, so I’ll make the rest later this year when we finish up a current jar or two 🙂

Fresh and Frozen Berries

Now we couldn’t go and pick a whole bunch of berries and not eat some of them fresh. This is when I realized that I hadn’t picked enough berries. Strawberries don’t last super long once picked (unless, I guess, they’re mutant grocery store berries), but we still could have had a lot more to munch on.

There’s also about 3 quarts of frozen strawberries in our freezer right now for smoothies and freezer pies later in the year. I flash froze these first, but I was a little impatient with the process, so there might be a few strawberry casualties.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This might be my favorite reasons that strawberries exist. Really, what’s better than ooey-gooey strawberry-rhubarb goodness?

Not.much.else.

One thing I love about making pies is impressing people sharing them with others.

[by the way…one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets is the pastry mat in the back of this picture]

It’s just so much fun to have a pretty AND tasty treat.

This would be the OTHER reason I should have picked more strawberries. But I froze enough strawberries and almost froze enough rhubarb to make another pie out of season.

You can try this yummy recipe out for yourself. Find it here. I did tone down the spices a bit. The amount of allspice in this recipe was a little too much for me.

Did you pick strawberries or another berry this year?

And maybe soon I can get C to update you all on our garden – he’s the one with the photos. It looks like we’re going to have an awesome tomato crop this year. And we’ve already got lettuce coming out of our ears!

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