Berry Picking and Jam Making

One of the sweetest things to do in Maine during the summer involves bending over and getting your fingers a little dirty. I'm of course talking about strawberry picking. As soon as we caught wind that the berries were ripe for the plucking, we grabbed our sun hats, crates, and bottles of water and headed out to one of the best fields in the state, Adam's in Corinth, Maine.

It was prime picking and the farmers were more than happy to direct you to the best spots. 

The trick to finding those elusive, ripe, red, plumptious beauties, is to look under the leaves. There you'll find the most luscious surprises, sometimes surrounded by a few that still need another week.

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Despite my constant eating, we did eventually fill 15 heaping cartons of berries.

And when the picking was done, we jumped on the back of the truck and let the breeze cool us down. 

Now for a bit of the good stuff in jam form. This recipe brings back so many good memories of sitting at my grandparents' dining room table with a fresh slice of bread, slathered in butter and topped with "jordær syltetøy" or spending Easter at the hytte (cabin) and watching my Farfar (grandfather) make waffles on the outside waffle griddle. 

Farfar's Jordbær Syltetøy (Norwegian for Grandfather's Strawberry Jam):

  • 2 lbs. luscious, glorious, fresh-picked strawberries
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp pectin (this kind)

The cool thing about this particular recipe is that the jam is not cooked. It sets in the freezer and once it's ready...well, you'll see.

Place your berries in a large, flat bottomed bowl. This makes it easier for mushing later on.

In a separate bowl, mix your sugar and pectin together. Make sure it is well incorporated.

Once the sugar is mixed, set aside and begin mashing those plumptious babies, BUT don't mash too hard. You see one of the best things about this jam, besides its sweet aroma that fills the roam, beside the freshness that brings you back to the strawberry field, it's that there are mamma jamma chunks of berries. So mash, but mash gingerly.

Those large, leftover pieces are a good thing, trust me.

After the the mushing has culminated, get your sugar/pectin concoction and tablespoon by tablespoon begin mixing it into the berries. Make sure the sugar completely dissolves before adding more. You don't want a grainy jam.

Next grab a few jars. This recipe makes about three medium sized jars with a bit left over to just spoon into a nearby mouth.

Using a spoon that fits into the mouth of the jar, start, well, spooning that red gold into the jars.

Look! I even found one of those mini jars that you get at hotels. It's just enough for one serving over a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Ta da! Look at this. It's so chunky, sweet, with a tinch of tartness, and will put a smile on even the grumpiest of guests.

Keep it in the freezer to set for a few hours and once you're ready to change your life forever, bring a jar back to room temperature and enjoy.

P.S. It keeps in the fridge for a week.