The best thing about early December in South Florida? Hands down: strawberry picking. While the rest of the country is freezing their butts off, we are enjoying delicious, ripe, red strawberries! For this year’s first strawberry picking trip, we went with a group of friends to the U-Pick at Natural Wonders Landscaping in Coconut Creek. Lydia had her own basket to pick strawberries.
Along with strawberries, they also have hydroponically-grown lettuce (several types), spinach, kohlrabi, chives, basil, cilantro, swiss chard, and several other greens.
They also had donkeys (and sold donkey food) so Lydia and her friends fed the donkeys.
I purchased 3.5 pounds of strawberries. We placed some of them in the fridge, but most of them went in the freezer on a large sheet pan and were then transferred into a plastic container.
Why did I freeze them? So I could make strawberry jam (when I could actually find some time). Well, this morning, I made some time. This recipe made a soft jam that could be used on sandwiches or as an ice cream topping. Here’s the recipe:
(recipe makes about 6 pints)
- 5 cups of ripe mashed strawberries
- 4 cups of organic raw cane sugar
Step 1: Rinse strawberries and remove stems. Place in a large pot.
Step 2: On low heat, mash strawberries with a potato masher. You will need 5 cups of mashed, ripe strawberries for the jam. Leave some larger chunks to give your jam texture.
Step 3: Add 4 cups of sugar and turn the stove up to high. Place a candy thermometer and continue stirring until the mixture reaches 220 degrees.
Step 4: Skim the surface to remove the foam. Ladle the strawberry jam into sanitized jars. I used the half-pint jars. Leave about 1/4″ available at the top of the jar.
Step 5: To can using everyday household items, place a potholder at the bottom of a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and add jars to the pot. Make sure they are covered with water. Turn heat down to get a lower boil (you don’t want your pot over-flowing) and remove after 5 minutes. Allow to cool and seal. Here are my completed jars of jam.
My jars are going to be given away for holiday gifts (I hope all my friends/family DON’T read this post because they may just be recipients!) I got some labels printed that say “Carrie’s Culinary Creations” and I wrote “Strawberry Jam” on each label. I also purchased some red quilting fabric with green polka dots. I believe I bought 12″ of fabric.
I placed a label on each can and added a piece of fabric right under the ring. I used some pinking shears to get a zigzag edge on my fabric. How cute are these little half-pints of strawberry jam??