On the weekend, my gorgeous little family and I embarked out to the country in search of some delicious strawberries. Living in Hamilton, we are blessed to have a large rural setting just 15 minutes outside of the city so finding a U-pick berry place was relatively easy to find.
Rewind… For weeks I had been stressing out LARGE that strawberry season had come to an end and I didn’t get to make my yearly supply of strawberry jam. I know what your thinking, “Richelle, they sell that in a million different varieties at the store.” I know, I know but the taste and the fact that you created something from just 3 ingredients is magical.
So on Sunday, the last day of my partner’s week-long vacation from work, we decided to hit the farm to pick some berries. There is something about being in the country that just brings balance to my life. Being a momma, a partner, a sister, a daughter, a full-time teacher, and an aspiring mompreneur- life is crazy but when I am surrounded by wide open spaces and can breathe in fresh air, it’s a total energy boost.
My 2 year old does not share my love of berry picking-yet. She picked one berry, got her hands dirty, and proceeded to protest until it was time to go home. My partner, being born and raised in the city, does not necessarily share my love of the great outdoors, however is a great sport and ended up doing the majority of picking while I dealt with the diva.
Ok, so why do I bother making jam? It’s simple- it makes me happy and it’s what I know. I grew up with my parents who always had a large garden. My dad would spend hours toiling and tampering with his fruits and vegetables to ensure they turned out perfectly (or he may have been avoiding any confrontation that living with a wife, three daughters, and one bathroom can bring. Nonetheless, his garden was perfect). When it was time for harvest, my mom and dad would set up a make-shift assembly line making homemade salsa, tomato juice, tomato sauce, pickles, etc. for days. Our basement shelves were always stocked with homemade deliciousness to enjoy for the winter to come.
My grandmother was also a huge influence in my love to create things from scratch. Having been born in 1916, she lived through wars, the great-depression, and several other experiences which would be hard to a farmer’s family. She grew up utilizing EVERYTHING. Nothing ever went to waste when grandma was around. You ate everything on your plate and you never threw anything out. My mom had the same mentality so it is natural to me to utilize the ingredients I have to make things instead of being dependent on running to the store to buy everything.
So, there you have it. A glimpse into my strawberry heaven. Equal parts strawberries to sugar, and a quarter-cup of lime juice for every 4 cups and you can have your own strawberry jam too.