On Saturday morning four of my kids and I headed out to pick strawberries. I didn't have any goals for how many berries to bring home, I just knew I'd like some for jam, and some to freeze for smoothies.  I told them, "Let's all try to fill our buckets about half-full!"  So they did, with some help from Ella and I, and apparently that totals up to 36 lbs.  It hadn't seemed like very much at the time, but when I got home and saw all those strawberries in my kitchen, I was just a touch overwhelmed.

The thing about strawberries is that you have to do something about them fairly quickly, because they don't keep well in or out of the fridge.  The first thing I did was pour them, in batches, into a sink full of cold water, and washed them.  Then I laid them out on trays (lined with paper towels) to dry and sit until I could do something with them.  But they get mushy fairly fast, so you have to GO.

I started in on freezer jam, and made two batches.  (In the photo below you can see them against the wall, there, on my counter, with the white lids.)

While I was doing that, I was also arranging whole berries on cookie sheets for the freezer- just freezing them for an hour or two and then transferring them into freezer bags. 

Then I readied the space for canning and processed a canner full of pint-sized jars.

This photo was taken when the end was finally in sight.  This was the last of the berries to do something about.  (It seems only fitting that my photo is blurry, since by this point I was feeling a little woozy from processing all those strawberries!) 
Then I sliced up a full bowl to keep in the fridge for us to eat for the next day or two, and I kept a tray of whole berries in the fridge, too.

And I still had berries to deal with.  So I decided to get out the food dehydrator and fill all the trays with sliced berries.  By the following evening (day 2) whatever we hadn't eaten from the fridge, which was becoming a bit mushy and unappealing, I blended up for fruit leather. 

So, all in all, 36 lbs of strawberries yielded:
10 small jars of freezer jam (2 batches)
7 pints of canned jam (1 canner full)
7 gallon-sized freezer bags of frozen whole strawberries, for smoothies
8 trays of dried strawberries (1+ quart jar full)
1 bowl sliced for the fridge for eating (primarily with yogurt and granola for breakfast....yum!)
1 bowl whole for eating (we took these to a friends' house and gobbled them up)
1 dessert: strawberry shortcake* (my favorite, with freshly whipped cream)
6 fruit leathers

And that was that.  The kids were in and out helping here and there, and that was nice, but for the most part they played outside --it was a beautiful sunny day-- while I worked.  Isaias helped with the trays of frozen berries, Audra helped me slice berries for the dehydrator, and Audra also helped me do the freezer jam.
*Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 T sugar
1 stick of butter, chilled (8 T)
lemon zest
2/3 cup milk

Combine the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter in with a pastry blender until it is pea-sized.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk, combining with a fork until just combined.  Add more milk if necessary, one tablespoon at a time.  Turn the dough out onto a surface for rolling (I use parchment paper, sprinkling flour on it first.)  Pat it down and lightly roll it out and then cut out with biscuit cutter (or the end of a glass or jar).
Bake at 425 degrees for 9-10 minutes, until just slightly browning at the top. 
Serve with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.
* * *

Today is our final day of school, and within the next few days I plan to have those evaluating-the-year conversations with my kids, and I'm very much in analyzing mode as I consider our school year. 

My next blog post will be about choosing good books for your teenage daughter.  Then I will likely move on to a series of homeschooling posts about what worked and what didn't work for us this school year, as I process my own thoughts.  (I hope that's okay!)

Blessings to you and yours today!


  1. Berry picking and strawberry goodness! We've been enjoying fresh strawberries dipped in our favorite cream. I'll have to share that recipe :)

    Enjoy the harvest of your hard work!

  2. Wowie! Strawberries are the one type of berry that I don't typically take the kids to pick. I can't get over the bending down on the ground part! Maybe I should revisit this. What a day, Stacy! And, yes, please do share your thinking and processing with us!

  3. Yummy! It's such a beautiful thing that you and yours will get to enjoy this bounty through the year. You're inspiring!

  4. What a fun day and a wonderful read! I enjoyed discovering all of the different ways you made use of the berries. Hugs from all of our crew ♥

  5. I had to come back and tell you that we're now in the middle of strawberry processing at our house! My mother in law picked up 5 half flats of day old berries for us! Hooray!


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