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Happy First Day of Summer! According to the keynote speaker at Green Mountain Boys’ State last evening, in Vermont tomorrow would be the first day of winter, since the days will already be on the shorter side.
In any event, it has been a few HOT days here. Jersey weather as I like to think of it — and I do not miss it. Nope, not in the least bit.
One of the good things about summer is when the berries start to ripen.
One of the things about berries is that you have to be patient. Growing a berry patch of any type is a lesson in patience. Last year we planted six strawberry plants. Maybe, if I remember correctly we saw a berry or two from them. Definitely not memorable. This year we planted some raspberry plants that we have been coddling along since last year indoors and new raspberry bushes, currants, blackberries and blueberries. Some of the plants had some fruit on them, but this will not be their year. Next year they will be bigger and stronger and better. Just like those strawberries. This year, they multiplied and took over almost the whole planter giving us our first real berry crop!
Here are some pictures of the strawberries and raspberries we picked for breakfast — now that is pretty neat and yummy.
- Farmers: Strawberry season is wrapping up fast, raspberries and blueberries on the way (mlive.com)
- Time’s ripe for strawberry recipes (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Berry Recipes – Strawberries, Raspberries & More! (berries.com)
- A Guide to Growing Your Own Berries! (berries.com)
- Berry Fruit Guide (berries.com)
- Keeping Cool With Berries (cookingafterwork.com)
It was a weekend full of jam. We picked raspberries, picked blueberries and grabbed strawberries at the farmer’s market. I made raspberry jam and mixed berry jam and blueberry jam.
Raspberries were picked at the bottom of the hill at Cole’s….that’s pretty much as close as we can get beside our own yard (and yes, we’re working on that).
This was how it looked crushed in the pot with low sugar pectin added….. I then added 4 cups of sugar (yes, that is the low sugar recipe) and brought it up to a boil. Jars were sterilized, filled, water bathed and then……
here is the finished product —yum. It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you start to can for yourself. Store bought just doesn’t cut it — no matter how expensive or fancy it purports to be. There is nothing that beats local and handmade.
The mixed berry jam was a first since it is not often that you can find local fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries all at the same time. It was definitely a hit…..delicious. I’ll be scouring around looking for more local strawberries in order to take advantage of the berry season.
One of the things about it just being Tom and I (besides quiet) is that we get to have dinner …or not… without a whole lot of complaining or confusion. For instance, last night, this was dinner:
We had a couple types of block cheese, some homemade herbed goat cheese (thanks Kara and Ryan!), fresh snap peas, baby carrots, fresh strawberries and homemade bread. The bulk of this came from the farmer’s market yesterday morning. I love summer for the ease of all different and yummy things to pick and eat.
It was yummy and light and good — all the best parts of dinner. The company….wasn’t bad either. :)