Last week, my dear sisters (Susannah and Cassia) and all their dear help, were gone at a orchestra camp! And do you know that it was that same week that the strawberries needed picked! Of course! Usually the four of us older girls do the food preserving together, and even though the younger girls help a lot, it is usually us four who have the bigger portion (understandably : ). Well, I was about to discover how wonderfully well my younger sisters (and Noah!) could pick and help with strawberries!
The first time we went was earlier in June, and because of the frost this spring, there weren’t very many–it took us about 1-1/2 hours for several of us to pick a total of 25 lbs!!!! Last week, when we went, we picked about 50 pounds. We thought "Great! Now we just have to pick about 50 more." (Last year we picked 133 lbs. and had some left over, so we figured another hundred pounds would last us until next year.) So the last time we went picking, we brought a few extra pots and bowls to fill. I’m not sure why!
At about 10:30 a.m. Leah, Anna, Bekah, Charissa, Noah and I walked into the big strawberry patch with our many containers, and we picked until about 11:50 a.m. Everybody did great and I was so happy with how well the littles picked with such little whining : ) Any of you with younger siblings konw how hot sun + work sometimes causes whining . Towards the end, Noah came up to me and said, "Do I have to pick anymore, ’cause I’m tired!" So I look up, and the poor little dear has sweat running down his red face! He is so cute! When we brought them up for the man to weigh the berries, he asked me if I wanted to know how many pounds we had gotten. I said "yes" because we always like to keep track of those things : D I was SO surprised when he said that it was 100 pounds! I almost wanted to ask, "Are you sure?!"
We took them home and got them all washed, and hulled, made pancake syrup, made jam, and put the extra into the freezers on freezer paper, so they wouldn’t all be clumped together when we put them in the bags. Our plan was to put them into bags once they were frozen– like the next day. By now, my wonderful sisters came home—but they had to work on projects, and Leah and I were helping Anna and Bekah with their projects, so it was several days that those berries were layed out like that, taking up all our freezer space! Yesterday, Leah and I finally piled all those strawberries into our biggest laundry basket, and set up a table outside to bag berries on. The girls had a lot of the tables taken up with 4-H projects, and it was nicer to work outside anyways. And if you dropped any strawberries on the grass, you didn’t have to wash the grass like you would need to wash the floor in the kitchen : D So, here are pictures!
My little helpers, helping me clean berries : )
I am amazed, and happy to see that there were not piles of dishes in the background of this picture : D The whole kitchen was a big mess when we were done, so this must have been the next day, after everything was cleaned up : )
Strawberry Pancake Syrup
Fill blender with cleaned strawberries and 3/4 to1 c. of sugar. Blend until smooth. If you want to freeze it, put it into freezer containers and leave a 1/2 inch head space, just as you would for freezer jam. Makes about 3 or 4 pints.
Leah and I bagging the frozen berries.
Leah found a heart shaped berry!
The aftermath : )
2009 Strawberry Inventory
(maybe you didn’t want all this information, but I love making lists like this and taking inventory of what we have .)
Left over from 2008
Jam: 9 jars
Frozen Berries: 20 bags
Made in 2009:
Jam: 28 jars
Syrup: 11 jars
Frozen Berries: 52 bags
TOTAL of ’08 and ’09 together:
Jam: 37 jars
Syrup: 11 jars
Frozen Berries: 72 bags
And now, to see what we’ve been up to, here is a picture of my cute little brother, Isaiah, at 4-H judging today : ) I guess that doesn’t show much of the judging part, but I didn’t get very many pictures of the other parts : D
Have a great day!