June 15, 2018

Day 15: Strawberry picking!

Well, I didn't end up writing yesterday after all. I was planning to write in the evening, but Jerry and I watched a movie together instead. I'll probably write more about my thoughts and (hopeful) plans on weight maintenance soon.

But first... I knocked a goal off of my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old list today!

My friend Emily (a blog reader that I met up with in person a couple of years ago and who has turned into a close friend) came over and we went strawberry picking. I had never gone berry picking before (at least not that I remember), and it's something I really wanted to do.

This is an odd thing to bring up, but strawberry picking is one of the things that my weight held me back from doing when my kids were little. Whenever I think of stay-at-home moms, one of the things that always pops into my head is taking the kids to go berry picking.

Around here, it's a very common thing to do in the summer. I always used to see other moms posting pictures at the berry farm with their kids, and the MOMS Club that I was in would organize an outing there each year. Going berry picking as a stay-at-home mom is pretty much a given.

Except for me. I hadn't gone before today, but in my mind, I pictured bending over in the hot sun for hours with my clothes sticking to me while I was sweaty and tired and trying to keep the kids on task. There were a lot of things that I hated about being obese, but one of the worst was sitting on the ground in the sun (the only thing that sounded worse to me was sitting on the beach!).

I always felt guilty for not taking the kids berry picking. And I certainly have had plenty of opportunities to take them over the last several years after having lost the weight, but I just couldn't get that image of it out of my head. So, that's why I included "Go fruit picking" on my 40x40 list. Basically, I wanted to get over that negative image in my head of what it would be like.

When Emily said she was going to be in town for the weekend, and wanted to get together Friday morning/afternoon, I wanted to think of something for us to do--I looked at my 40x40 list to see if there was something on there to inspire an idea, and I thought berry picking would be perfect. I looked up nearby farms, and I discovered that strawberry season is super short (less than three weeks)--but that the berries were ripe and ready for picking just a few days ago! The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Emily had never been berry picking either, and she was really excited to go. We decided to pick the strawberries and then come back to my house and make jam (something else neither of us had done before). I asked my kids if they wanted to go, but they actually weren't interested(!). I think that ship has sailed, and I wish I had just done this years ago.

I still hate sitting in the sun, even at a normal weight, but I was actually really looking forward to this. Thankfully, it wasn't a super hot day--it was 74 degrees, so it was pretty nice out! (I even wore a cardigan). We got to the berry farm at around 10:30, and were given a whole row of berries to ourselves.

Emily sat on one side and I sat on the other so we were facing each other and able to chat while we picked strawberries (and eat one here and there, of course!). As we picked each plant free of the ripe berries, we moved down the row. I couldn't believe how many strawberries were in each plant--it doesn't look like it at first, but once you start picking, there are strawberries everywhere!

I wanted to make sure to get enough to make jam, but also to make a strawberry rhubarb pie and just have berries to eat. Fresh strawberries are the BEST! We were each given a box that holds about 10 pounds of berries--and at $2.09 per pound, I decided to fill it!

We were satisfied with our pickings at around noon, so we headed out. On the way out, they weigh your strawberries. I had picked almost exactly 10 pounds--it cost about $21 for my box.

On the way back to my house, we stopped to get the stuff for jam making--mason jars, pectin, and sugar. We got to work hulling the strawberries, mashing them, sterilizing the jars, and prepping everything to make the jam.

When I read the recipe, I saw that it listed how much of each ingredient you need for each jar of jam; since we were making a large batch, I did the math and we needed 13-1/3 cups of mashed strawberries. It took a while, but we finally got all we needed.

And then when I looked at the recipe again, I discovered that it actually listed the ingredients per TWO jars, not for each jar... so we'd accidentally prepped twice as many strawberries as we needed, bahahaha! If I'd had more jars, I would have just made twice as many (I put the extra prepped berries in the fridge, and I'll go get more jars tomorrow).

I was surprised at how much easier jam-making was than I expected! I followed the recipe that was included with the container of pectin, and it wasn't hard at all. The most difficult part was moving the jars (both empty and full) to and from the boiling water without a good pair of tongs (I'm going to buy better ones before making more jam tomorrow). Emily and I were holding several utensils each to move the jars without getting burned, haha.

BUT, we managed to get everything done without incident, and we were so excited when we heard the jar lids popping as they sealed. The recipe says to let them sit for 24 hours before checking to make sure they are sealed, but right now, the lids seem to have sealed just fine. I'll be thrilled if it actually worked and we were successful at our first jam-making session.

We had a little leftover jam after pouring it into the jars, so we each ate a spoonful and it was delicious! Tomorrow, I want to make a loaf of homemade bread to eat with it. (I'm bummed that I forgot to get a picture of Emily and me with our jam.)

While we were processing the jam, we decided to make good use of some of our strawberries by making strawberry margaritas! Some tequila, triple sec, lime juice, sugar, and fresh strawberries in a blender, and then poured over ice. It was amazing :)

I still have a lot of berries left over (I didn't know how much I'd need, so I picked way too many). Tomorrow, I'll probably have strawberries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And probably the next day, too ;)

I loved strawberry picking, and I am going to make this a yearly thing for sure! It was so fun, and not nearly as uncomfortable as I had pictured it to be all these years. Thankfully, it wasn't very hot or humid.

OH, and later on, I saw that Becky had posted photos of Luke at a strawberry farm. It turns out that she and Luke were at the SAME farm at the SAME time as us--and I didn't even see them! It was her first time berry picking as well. Quite the coincidence that we were both there at the same time. What a fun day!


  1. I haven’t bee berry picking either...but never seem to have time! Somehow I have however many years picked wild raspberries! I have however made strawberry jam!!! Makes me want to do it again this year!!!

  2. I LOVE strawberry picking!! So glad you had a great time!! I also usually go the margarita route with my berries lol. But I also freeze some for smoothies and stuff too!

  3. This makes me so happy!! Jam making is really easy...it's not quick, but it's fun and so worth the effort! If only I had known you were doing it...I could've brought you all the tools you needed! :) Enjoy your jam!

  4. If you have a ton of extras, slice them up and dehydrate them. They become a little tangy and are reminiscent of sour patch kids

  5. Love strawberry picking! Ours are $2.50 a lb here.

  6. How crazy I took my nieces berry picking this weekend, I have three ages 5 and under so it mostly consisted on me picking berries and the girls eating them out of my bucket, but I can't fault them Oregon strawberries are the best and they are sweetest right off the bush dirt and all.

  7. I also freeze some of my extra berries for winter - just wash and hull them, put them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, I put them in bags so I can just take as many as I need. The texture isn't the same, but the flavor is, so it's fun to put them over ice cream or pound cake and enjoy them well past summer time!


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