Fresh fruit is one of my favorite things about summer! We are blessed to have tons of u-pick fruit farms in Middle Tennessee, and from mid-April through late fall, I pick as much as I can–strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and apples.
On the first day of blueberry season, a friend and I headed to a local farm to grab some tasty morsels. Do you enjoy picking fruit? It makes for a fun, family-friendly 4th of July activity!
When we lived in Santa Barbara we would go to a place called Apple Lane Farms in Solvang for u-pick apples. It was so much fun. It was even more fun with our homeschool groups because we could help the little ones pick apples. Sadly they closed in 2014.
Well, despite having a lot of fruit trees in our yard, I'm not necessarily the first person who's called to help with the harvesting.
In Oregon there is a lot of berry picking in the summer. My Grandmother used to do a ton of canning. One of my Grandmothers favorite stories to tell about me was when I was 2 her and my parents were picking strawberries to make jam. While they were hard at work I found a mud puddle and decided to take off my clothes (remember I was only 2) and go for a swim. when My mom found me I just looked up at her and said Wimming mommy I am wimming.
I've only done this once in my life and that was when I was a kid. Grandma took me to pick strawberries someplace. After this, they planted their own strawberries and they always had a ton of their own. In fact my grandma wrote a story about her and I having to freeze an over abundance of them one summer. There were so many that year we were so drained every time grandpa would bring in a new big bunch for us to clean and cut. All we could do was laugh! –Stacey
You should study the Ball Blue Book (a CURRENT copy, not an older one) and learn how to make jam and process it. It's not hard, but it can be hot work. And you have to carefully follow the steps exactly as the book says, always bearing in mind that anything you use in canning should be kept as sterile as possible during the process. There is no such thing as taking shortcuts when canning, nor should you ever follow advice not found in the book. Believe me, there's a LOT of well-meaning but erroneous advice floating around about home canning. Don't do something just because "that's how Grandma did it." Grandma may have been cruising simply on luck when it came to canning! Incidents of food poisoning have led canning methods to change a lot over the decades. That's why you need to follow the latest procedures and information only.
You can find the Ball Blue Book on Jarden (Ball) brand's website. If you click on the Ball jar picture there, it will take you to a site called Fresh Preserving. Then you can search "blue book" and you'll see the 37th edition for sale ($11.95). You can sometimes find it on display with the canning equipment at Wal-Mart.
I agree with you Anon about having safe canning practices. I get very concerned when I groups I'm on say you can water bath low acid for several hours and it is safe to eat. No way! I always pressure can low acid foods per The Ball Blue Book. I was terrified the first time I made apricot jam with the water bath canner but my jam came out great. My family were happy campers!
That is scary about low acid in water baths. A recipe for botulism! I've heard people say you can put the lid on jam when it's hot and as it cools, it "seals" the jars and they're safe without processing. Well maybe if you're going to store it all in the fridge and eat it immediately. I've also heard about "cakes in a jar" – people baking in the jar and then putting the lid on it as it cools and expecting it to stay shelf stable. You shouldn't even be baking in the jars in the first place. They're not made for dry heat and oven temperatures. And then there's pumpkin butter, which is not safe to can at home at all. Yet I've seen recipes for it in blogs, especially in the fall. Tomatoes are another problem, because some popular hybrid varieties yield fruit that is not low enough in acid to water bath can without added acid. Yet you see online tomato, spaghetti sauce, and salsa recipes for canning that don't include enough acid or have too many added vegetables to safely water bath can. This is why you have to keep up with the latest food safety news and only follow USDA-approved guidelines and recipes for home canning.
That fruit looks delicious.
HAPPY 4th of JULY
Joan,Marion and Marilyn
Frozen blueberries are expensive in the store. Do you just wash and freeze these? You are an inspiration?!
We eat some plain, and the rest I wash and freeze.