It’s hard to believe that in the whole last year, strawberries, one of my very favorite things, was never the plant of the day. The early varieties are ready to harvest here in the Willamette Valley, and I’m planning to go out picking this weekend with two of my coworkers.
Providing I recover from my cold. I’m home with a cough for the fifth day now, catching up on reading: ‘The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire’ by Arundhati Roy. As if I wasn’t restless enough. As least it encourages purposeful action.
Anyway, I am so excited about strawberries. I want to pick enough to make jam to last the whole year, plus give some as presents. The Ball Blue Book of Home Preservation (I consult the 29th edition, 1974) suggests a family of 4 needs about 160 half-pints of jam, jelly and preserves for one year, figuring each person eats jam 6 times a week, 2 tablespoons per serving.
I’d like to make about two dozen half pints of strawberry jam, plus some with rhubarb if I can still find some. There are six jars per batch. Each batch takes 5 cups, or about 2 1/2 lbs. of berries. So to make 4 batches I need to pick 10 lbs. of berries.
Pomona’s Universal Pectin works well for me, and I use half the sugar of the old fashioned recipes.