The last time we went strawberry picking was about three years ago when I was pregnant with Zach. It was SUPER hot and humid and I don't even remember it being that much fun. We didn't pick many berries (and the berries we did pick weren't all that great--I guess it was a bad year for strawberries because of a drought the year before...or something like that) due to an uninterested 1-year old Allie and a swollen pregnant momma.
This year's experience was nothing like our first time. The cooler weather was actually ideal for strawberry picking and the strawberries were more plentiful and larger than I remember (much sweeter too!). I don't even think we picked very long (maybe 40-45 minutes at the most) before we filled up two large flats of strawberries. I was shocked to discover we actually picked over 15 lbs!
Allie was much more interested in picking strawberries this time around and proved to be quite the helper:
However, I'm still unsure of the number of strawberries she picked that actually ended up in the flats because every time I saw her, she looked a little something like this: Zach, on the other hand, wasn't as enthusiastic about picking the berries as Allie. However, he was very proud of the 2 strawberries that he managed to pick when he wasn't running up and down the rows or trying to stomp on the berries that had already fallen off the plants. I was also surprised that he didn't eat ANY of the strawberries. He wouldn't even touch them until we got home and cut off the green tops. Silly guy.
So, what did we do with ALL these strawberries? Well, we spent the rest of the afternoon converting over half of them into strawberry jam. It was my first ever attempt at authentic canning (as opposed to freezer jam) and although it turned out a little sweeter and runnier than I anticipated, it was still a success.
We pureed a bunch of them in the blender (and then froze the mixture) in preparation to make homemade strawberry ice cream next weekend for Father's Day.
Ben used a bunch to make homemade strawberry milkshakes for everyone.
We ate way more strawberries than I ever thought humanly possible.
I made a batch of strawberry bread.
And, we still have a couple pints of strawberries leftover in the fridge.
Next up....raspberry picking...in our own backyard! And, now that I have this whole canning thing down, I'm thinking there will also be some raspberry jam in our near future.