Dedicated Harvest

Strawberies from the garden.After a week of cool, wet weather the strawberries are coming on strong. For the last two weeks we have had fresh berries with meals and to share small tastes with visitors to the farm.

This is the first full picking. Aside from fresh eating, this early harvest will be dedicated to the freezer. We just love frozen berries and the ability to have them all winter long. Later pickings will have smaller, sweeter berries and those are the one that I process with the food dehydrator.

I wash and freeze the berries in single layers on cookie sheets before transferring the frozen orbs to gallon freezer bags. Three trays full of berries in freezer.Having the berries individually frozen means I don’t have to use a full gallon at a time, I can take a few out at a time.

This year, my Aunt had given me some advice about the way she would freeze berries to help them keep their shape and texture after being frozen. After washing the fruit and letting them air dry, I mixed dry pectin (like what is used to make jam and jelly) into the berries before traying and freezing. It only takes a small amount of pectin like a rounded teaspoon full for every gallon.

The results will be a new story come October or November.

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