June 17, 2015
In keeping with our practice of experiencing everything new where we live, Anthony and I tried our hand at strawberry picking last week. I was super excited to try it, Anthony not as excited, but he's a good sport and will try most things once. He was also excited at the thought of me making some strawberry jam. We went to the strawberry patch that is closest to us - the Apple Barn Orchard & Winery in Elkhorn. We were obviously rookies - we weren't sure - were we supposed to bring our own containers? Where did we start, how much did it cost, etc.,etc. The employees were, of course, super helpful in true Wisconsin fashion and explained everything to us. Here's a bucket, go to rows where there are pink flags, start picking on the other side of the pink flag. Move the pink flag to where you stop picking. Then pay. That's about it! We knew we needed about 6 1/2 pounds and that cost us $11. It was a rainy day, so we were in and out of there in about 30 minutes. It's a beautiful place that's kept very clean and they even have a mascot who was perfect Gigi boyfriend material. The strawberries tasted so delicious right off the vine. I found a simple strawberry jam recipe on the internet and proceeded to make my first batch, also my first attempt at canning. My new reputation as a farm girl was on the line. The best part of the whole experience was that my jam actually set up and all of my lids popped into place. But when we tasted it the next morning, it was meh, just ok. Actually it tasted exactly like strawberry jam. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe fireworks to start going off above my head, or something close to that? Anthony's suggestion was to add something spicy to the jam, or some type of other ingredient to add more complexity to the flavor. So back we went to the patch today and picked three more buckets full; due to the recent rains they were running a special: buy two buckets, get one free. And now it's all strawberries, all the time at our place. First on the list: Strawberry jalapeño jam. I'm also planning on trying a strawberry pomegranate sangria, a strawberry icebox cake and to finish things off, a strawberry-lime-cucumber-balsamic-gin cocktail. Let's hope this week's overdose of strawberries doesn't turn into another Dandelion project FAIL.