Unless you are a farmer or a gardener, then strawberries are generally your first opportunity to pick and eat anything local and fresh each year in New England. I grew up in NH, and started yearning for our trip to the strawberry fields as soon as the lilacs bloomed. I would fill my stomach with the warm strawberries, fresh from the plants while my mom and dad hunched over the plants, filling the cardboard box the farm provided. I always loved bringing the overflowing box to the table at the side of the field to see how much they weighed. My father would always wash and slice the berries as soon as we got home, sprinkling them with just enough sugar to bring out their enormous flavor; and then we would eat and eat until they were gone. They never lasted more than a day or two as I recall.
As an adult, I still love going to the fields and picking as many berries as I can – although now I’m the one hunching over the plants while my kids sit in the rows and eat berries. It’s partly the process that I love, and the feeling of connecting to my food on a local level.
My family can’t eat berries in the quantities that I bring home. Luckily, I have a use for this abundance! Strawberry jam!! If you’ve never tasted freshly made jam, you are missing out. Far from the supermarket, HFCS-sweetened variety, this is June in a jar.
Recipes abound, but I love the classics. This time around, I used the recipe included in my packet of pectin. It turned out beautifully.