The strawberries are finally ready! It has been a cool, wet Spring, so they were a little later than usual this year, but they are finally here. It's a good thing, too, because we ran out of jam in late February.
We made our annual trek to the Jerry Marsh Farms in Locust Fork last Wednesday. Five one-gallon buckets worth later, we were back home and the berries were in the refrigerator (I can't take credit for picking; for an extra $2, we get them already picked). Thursday a friend came over and we got 3 buckets washed and crushed, and did two runs of my recipe. She is such a good friend and a huge help, so I sent her home with a jar or two....or five. By Friday evening I had finished with all the strawberries, the kitchen was cleaned, and there were 1 1/2 jars in the refrigerator and several more on the canning shelves in the basement.
Just to note, I don't do freezer jam anymore. My freezer is 26 years old and I am just not sure how much longer it is going to last. Because of where we live, if the power goes out it can take several days for it to be restored. Cooked jam tastes a lot better (in my opinion) than freezer jam.
This winter I discovered a blog by a young lady and she talked about her canning journals. I'm a late adapter but it made so much sense. Each year you would record the yield from the garden and how many jars of everything you are able to can. Then in January if you were to run out of jam, you would know that you need to increase how much you would can the next year. In May if you were to find that you still had 24 jars of pickled eggs (shudder), you would know that you maybe don't need to make quite so much in the coming year. The important part is to take stock in December and January, so that you are able to sit down with the family gardener and figure out how much more or less of each thing you need to plant in the coming year and plan the garden accordingly. Isn't that brilliant?! Her explanation is much better than mine so be sure you click over and read.
Therefore, in my home and garden binder, right in there with my menu section, my cleaning schedule section, the chicken section, the bunny section, the bee section, the garden section...you will now find my canning journal section! Yes, thank you, I AM the family nerd.