Strawberries are the bellwether that signals mad canning will commence. We have blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, and black raspberries come into season in quick succession. The reality is I will be canning jams and making pies constantly until the late fall after apples and pumpkins go out of season.
I didn’t used to have this relationship to produce. Because strawberries are only available for three weeks of the year, it makes procuring a bit of an ordeal even if you don’t pick your own. They are loved and cut and washed. They are crushed and cooked with sugar and pectin. The jam takes on a vibrant ruby color unique to fresh strawberries cooking into jam. They are sliced and placed in a crisp light pie crust. All this preparation is an investment, for which the pay off is the most delicious, fleeting strawberry pie. And a year of delicious jam.
We got our berries from Barrett’s Strawberry Farm, 11434 Fairfield Road, Leesburg 937-780-4961. I just came back from Europe and was concerned we would miss the season. Typically, strawberries come into season in May in this area. They wrap up in early June. But like the rhubarb, the berries were late this year. Most farms didn’t start their season until early June. Given that it’s early in the season, we had some difficulty getting berries. Barrett’s was about a 90 minute drive from Cincinnati, but the price of their berries was quite good, I got 6 quarts for a little over 22 bucks. Their berries looked great and tasted excellent.
We made a double batch of jam according to the instructions on the Sure Jell package. I also made strawberry pie according to this recipe. The jam and the pie turned out wonderfully. I just located this recipe for pepper balsamic strawberry jam and will have a blog in the near future about that.