I've dreamed for years about berry picking with my little ones. Picking berries and tucking them away to be used all year is something that I'm rather passionate about and so the thought of sharing that with my children and teaching them about the importance of local, seasonal food has been something I've been looking forward to for years. In my dreams I imagined picking berries for hours with a happy, little baby on my back. The reality of that looked somewhat different, but in the end I did pick strawberries with a baby on my back and I'm so glad I did! He wasn't too pleased about the whole back thing and a short morning nap made for a tired, fussy baby while picking, but he eventually fell asleep and my friend Amy and I were able to pleasantly pick berries and chat. Over the years, I've found that the berry patch is a wonderful place for deep conversation. Your hands are busy with a menial task and so it's easy to open up and really share what's going on in life and I love that.
I ended up with 10+ pounds of strawberries and was able to go home that afternoon and put them all into their assigned places! Three pounds went into the freezer to be used the rest of the year in kombucha, smoothies, and sauces. Some were sliced up to be eaten with brownies and ice cream for a gathering of friends that evening. Some were put into a second ferment of kombucha and others into a pint of vodka (Spiked Strawberry Mint Lemonade, anyone??). Some were set aside for a pie. Some were put in the fridge for fresh eating. And the rest were made into jam! Nap-time Jam, that is! It's amazing what a determined mama can accomplish during a decent nap-time! By the time that boy of ours had woken up from an afternoon nap, I had successfully washed, hulled, and put away all of the strawberries, made and canned jam, and cleaned up the kitchen! Success!! It felt amazing, I must say! Now, if only all nap times were that productive!
Strawberries! I do love them. And I love being able to enjoy their summer freshness all year round. It makes their short season so very enjoyable. How about you? What do you love to do with seasonal strawberries?