Home  //   About  //   Life  //   Homeschool  //   Recipes  //   Places to Play in PA  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Yumminess

We finally feel like we are on break... early morning wake ups with the sun and days packed with silliness, gardening, and together time. I've shared a lot about what goes on out back, but inside, we have been busy too.
We pickled radishes. The kids and husband liked them-- but whooo-weeeee--- they smelled potent! We've realized fresh radishes are much spicer and sharper then the ones in the store so they can really pack a punch.
We also picked our first small batch of lettuce and arugula and added in some store bought spinach and tomatoes to make a very yummy salad. The kids were so proud of their backyard lettuce and kept pointing out our red leaf lettuce with every other bite. We added in a few radishes but I must confess, I had to pass a lot of mine on to my son-- they are that spicy. Not spicy hot... just spicy flavorful spicy if that makes sense...
The kids also talked me into buying a watermelon this week at the grocery store. The 6 of us ate half of it in one sitting and then I made the rest into three jars of watermelon jelly and the last quarter into 12 popsicles. I just pureed with blueberries and a small dab of vanilla yogurt and the kids devoured them three nights in a row after dinner. That's one of the things I love most about summer-- all the fruit!
And speaking of fruit, this morning we were up and at 'em at 6:40 and at the strawberry patch picking away by 7:50 (and that patch is 35 minutes away.... I'm kind of bragging on ourselves a bit since we are NOT good typically at getting out of the door in a timely manner. It takes prep work and no one needing to use the bathroom right before we walk out the door which means everyone has to go... anyway).
We go to Weavers Orchard and they are so sweet there! We did plant our own strawberry plants but are picking the blossoms off this year to strengthen the plants for next year. BUT according to the weaver farmer one plant can give you about a quart of strawberries and we have 30 plants. I'm a little giddy about that.
If you go strawberry picking, wear a hat! You might feel silly, but we all had our hats on and were the only people not getting mauled by gnats.
The kids did awesome! Last year it was a disaster-- as soon as we got to the furthest par of the patch with all the other pickers my three year old had to pee. And the porter potty was about two football fields away across the patch. I ended up making three trips to the porter potty that day. Picked probably three strawberries due to the fact our little baby at the time did not care to be strawberry picking (or in our case, picking, hiking to the potty, then hiking back, and then repeating the process three times). This year all four of them were terrific! They picked their fair share and filled their bowls. Little guy ate a muffin the whole time and watched us. Noone ate a single strawberry. This is a personal family first-- we normally walk out of there drenched in strawberry juice. I didn't say anything about this a head of time (shoot, I wouldn't have minded a few on the side) but it was like an unspoken rule among the three of them.
When we got home and when the three littles were napping and my oldest was reading, I began our jelly. We picked 17 pounds of berries and ate about a pound or two just today (apparently the don't eat the berry rule at the patch gives way to the consume so many berries at home mom has to change outfits and mop the floor a few times... but its all in good yummy fun).
After three batches and several diversions we got our years supply of strawberry jam in 20 various jar sizes.
I can also tell its summer because we fall into bed at dusk exhausted, but filled with summer fun and yumminess.

1 comment:

angie said...

What discipline to wait until home to sample the berries! Lots of folks wear hats at our berry patch, but I always thought it was for sun protection. Thanks for the tip.
Last year, I made strawberry freezer jam. We loved it, but I remember searching for a better recipe that had less or no sugar to no avail. I know you canned yours, so I may need to make my debut into canning. I'm imagining you are using a no/low sweetener recipe. Would you mind sharing it?
By the way, on my bike ride today, I saw that cherries will start picking at Rowand's on June 22.