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Strawberries: Pick Your Own

Posted by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 28 Replies

These days, you can get strawberries year round, and right now we are in prime season for local strawberries in many parts of the country. But if you have ever had the experience of pulling a fresh, perfectly ripe red berry off the vine and popping it in your mouth, you know supermarket berries can't hold a candle to that sweet, almost wine-like flavor.

If you don't have space or patience to grow strawberries in your back yard (they take a long time to get established), think about taking a trip to a u-pick farm. It's a fun way to show your kids that the food on their plates does not come from plastic clamshells at the grocery store, and the freshness and flavor can't be beat. Just be aware of how much you are picking...at our first trip to a u-pick farm we wound up with 25 pounds of cherries in about 30 minutes! Ooops-- but I did learn how to can!

You will want to preserve some of your harvest, since strawberries don't keep. You can wash, hull and freeze them. Freeze them individually first on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and then transfer them to gallon-size freezer bags...this way you can just take out what you need. I also have cooked sliced berries with some sugar and a little water to create kind of a compote and frozen that in plastic containers...this is great on top of ice cream or pancakes. Or you can make jam, either easy-to-handle freezer jam or somewhat-more-complicated hot water bath canning. Canning is actually much less scary than it seems...just follow all instructions to the letter. This is NOT the time to get creative!

Once you find a u-pick farm, call ahead to make sure there are still berries available. When you are picking, hold the stem half and inch above the hull and gently twist. Look for only the ripest, reddest berrries...they don't get any riper once you pick them. And if the berry resists picking, it's not ready yet.  Ripe fruit will come right off the stem. Be very gentle with them; they crush easily. And try to avoid eating as many as you pick!

Have you picked your own strawberries? What did you do with your haul?

Image ŠIStockPhoto/YuriyS

by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
lulalacroix
by Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 4:02 AM
Yes. Every year. I made strawberry jam, and froze them as well.
Lauren486
by Lauren on Jun. 21, 2013 at 8:12 AM

I was just talking to some friends about taking the kids to pick strawberries and blueberries.  We have 2 farms up the road  that offer pick your own fruit.  It's one of those things we say we'll do every year and never get around to it.  I need to stick to my plan this summer!

batjmom
by Sarah on Jun. 21, 2013 at 8:17 AM
Not yet we have not picked our own strawberries. I have strawberry plants in the garden
Peachy34500
by Gold Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM
Yep I pick my own right in my back yard!
ChancesMommy07
by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Every year. My aunt and uncle own a pick your own  farm. They do strawberries,blueberries, pumpkins, apples, and peaches. I use them for jams, jelly, pies, some I just freeze for treats in the winter time.

kaybear123
by Kayla on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Nope.

megandwade
by Silver Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I've never picked strawberries although I've often picked blackberries... I've been thinking about planting some strawberries!

batjmom
by Sarah on Jun. 21, 2013 at 1:34 PM
My mom use to make strawberry jam it was so good that now I can't handle that store bought stuff

Quoting lulalacroix:

Yes. Every year. I made strawberry jam, and froze them as well.
batjmom
by Sarah on Jun. 21, 2013 at 1:34 PM
That's great

Quoting Peachy34500:

Yep I pick my own right in my back yard!
JasonsMom2007
by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 1:40 PM
Yes we went to a u pick strawberry and blueberry place after the deer ate mine out of the yard. Made a whole bunch of sugar free, gluten free, junk free jam for the year. Cost me $40 for 30 jars. Otherwise I have to pay $5 for a jar half the size so I'm happy!
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