Day 3 of the canning is spent with my girlfriend and her Nonie – canning strawberries.  My friend has a daughter that is Ryder’s age- so they played and Saige crawled around while we cooked 3 big stock pots of strawberries. 

These were some of the sweetest strawberries ever!  I got 1/2 a flat from the Friday farmer’s market and the other 2 flats from the local strawberry farm (they aren’t certified organic- but they do not spray or use pesticides). I never buy conventionally grown berries of any kind because they are the ones that farms use the most pesticides with and it just goes directly into them- there is no protective skin (not that the skin keeps the chemicals from getting in). 

We had a lot of fun- canning is definately a process to be shared with others.  It’s a lot of work- even when working together- but it’s more fun when there is someone to chat with.

Unfortunately, the jam didn’t set right- so it’s more like a sauce.  I am going to re-work this batch.  I might save a couple jars as sauce- I actually have been using one of the jars on waffles and in my cream of wheat- which is super yummy.  I think it would be great over pancakes and ice cream too.  But I would really like jam too.  So this weekend I will try re-working it to get a more firm consistency. 

Last night I started jarring up the pears.  The Bartlet’s are really ready- if I waited any longer they wouldn’t be good.  The Bosc are perfect.  I peeled and quartered 4 big jars worth and then my hand couldn’t take it any longer (cramping).  So I will finish the rest tonight. (as you can see above I already busted into the second from the left jar- oh so yummy!!!)

So let’s see, I guess pears were day 4 so next is apple sauce for day 5.  I am borrowing my friends peeler/corer- so hopefully I will get that this week so I can start this weekend.  The gravenstein apples are ready!

Phew, this is a lot of work- but I just keep reminding myself of the rewards.  I do look forward to doing this when the kids are older and they can help.  It will be good bonding time.  Ryder was actually helping with the pears- he would drop them in the lemon water where they waited before jarring up.

We only boiled over the strawberries 2 times- so I’m getting better!

Stay tuned!

Saturday we headed to west county, where my boss lives.  I love it out there.  He lives outside of town on @ 2+ acres (this was his grandma’s property before she passed).  And did she love to garden!  So the place is set up with great gardens and a fruit orchard. 

 

Not only does he have his own little orchard with Gravenstein apples, fuji apples, macintosh apples, peaches, 2 types of plums, bosc pears, Bartlet pears, avocado, pomegranate and lemon tress (phew that was a lot, I hope I didn’t miss anything), he recently purchased a piece of property behind his from his neighbor and down at the bottom of this hill were huge blackberry briars.  It was great!  But it is so untouched down there that it was difficult to get to a lot of the bushes but we managed to get enough to make a couple tarts.  Boy do those thorns hurt!

Another bonus was the vintage tractor he restored.  I think he said it was from 1946 and he painted it cherry red- it’s gorgeous.  He lives down this quaint, quite country lane so Doug took Ryder out on a tractor ride.  Oh, how I wish we lived on a piece of property like this (I’d defintely have my chickens I am longing for if we were out there). 

Another great thing is, the area that he lives is a “no spray” area and has been for as long as his grandmother lived there (which I believe she originally purchased in the 70’s) so we know all the fruit is organic.  Again, it’s just the mindset out there, everybody who lives in this area agree to maintain “no spray” and keep everything organic. 

So we came home with bags of apples, peaches, pears and plums (and a couple lemons). 

Good thing I had Doug with me- otherwise I would have had the whole van full of fruit and been overwhelmed.  Doug is more realistic about what we can do.  If I can all of this and still have energy I might go back for more.  My plans are to make applesauce and apple butter, slice the peaches and pears and can those just like that and make plum jam. 

Tomorrow starts the insanity!  I know I will be so happy come winter when I’m pulling out the fruits of my labor (literally). 

Stay tuned to see the final result.