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Strawberry Picking at Rowe’s Produce Farm and Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe

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It’s strawberry season in Michigan, so grab your bonnets and head out to one of your favorite U-Pick farms. I love picking fruit with my kids…it’s a great family activity, tastes delicious, and helps my children understand  and appreciate where their food comes from.

Ann Luke of The Roosevelt Street Blog was kind enough to fill us in on her favorite strawberry picking spot and share her delicious freezer jam recipe with us. Happy Summer!

 

It’s almost time!  In our house, the month of June, strawberry picking, and homemade jam go hand in hand.
A few years ago, I tried making a small batch of freezer jam for the very first time.  The effort was successful, the jam tasted amazing, and we’ve been picking strawberries, making jam, and looking forward to June and strawberry season ever since.
Our favorite place to pick strawberries is Rowe’s Produce Farm in Ypsilanti. They have a website and a Facebook page, but the best thing to do is to get on the list and they will send you emails on crop conditions which I find to be very handy.  On May 30 they posted that the berries are sizing and guessed that it would be another 12-15 days before picking begins.  Just enough time to get your jam making supplies in order!
The farm is located at 10570 Martz Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 and during picking season they are open every day from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., weather and ripe berries permitting.  You are allowed to drive your vehicle to the fields and they supply the trays for picking strawberries free of charge.  The berries are sold by the pound, with the weight of the box deducted.  According to Rowe’s, the large berries fill the basket faster but the smaller ones have less water in them and are sweeter.  While they are open most seasons for 3-4 weeks, it can be less due to weather conditions, so when you get the email that the strawberries are ready, you’ll want to head out there sooner rather than later!
The recipe I use for strawberry freezer jam is below and is the same or very similar to the one that comes with the Sure-Jell pectin.  Just be sure to make enough jars to last you through the long Michigan winter.  I find homemade strawberry jam is like a little bit of summer on your toast on a cold winter’s day – perks you right up!  And if you have other u-pick strawberry farms you recommend, please leave a comment and let us know.
Strawberry Freezer Jam
These amounts are for ONE batch (and yes, it is a lot of sugar!)
1 quart fully ripe strawberries (2 cups crushed)
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 box fruit pectin (Sure Jell)
Note that I think it is important to get the Sure-Jell brand of pectin.  Last year I tried a different brand and it didn’t set up the same.
Make sure you have clean, dry plastic freezer containers (or glass jars) ready beforehand.  Pretty much any container will work but I am a fan of the Ball 8-Ounce Plastic Freezer Jars.  I find them to be just the right size.
1.       Remove strawberry stems and rinse gently with water. Pat dry.
2.       Crush berries until you have 2 cups exactly. Stir in sugar.
3.       Let stand for 10 minutes,stirring occasionally.
4.       Mix water and pectin in small saucepan; bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn it.
5.       Remove from heat and add to fruit mixture; stir constantly for 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy; a few sugar crystals may remain and that’s okay.
6.       Fill containers immediately within 1/2″ of top.
7.       Wipe off top edges and immediately cover with lids.
8.       Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
9.       Your jam is now ready to use, and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or frozen for up to 1 year. (Note, I’ve had a container in fridge for more than 3 weeks and it still tastes fine.)

 

10.   Thaw frozen jam in the fridge before using.

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