Strawberry Season!

So, last week was strawberry week at the Rule household. Kedzie and I went to the farmer's market and picked up 2 gallons of strawberries from a "local" farm in nearby South Carolina. The town is really only an hour drive, so I consider that local. (Compared with the usual Florida or California berries found in our supermarkets). I knew I wanted to freeze some and also make some jam.
These buckets started out heaping...Kedzie and I had already gotten into them a bit.
Self-portrait of me and baby 2 canning in my grandmother's old apron. I am always very nostalgic for her whenever I put food up.
Pre-wash of strawberries in Fit fruit wash. Since we can't afford a large amount of organic strawberries, this is my attempt at cleaning as much residue off these bad boys as possible!
Here's the after picture of our booty. A gallon of frozen strawberries, 6-7 pints of strawberry freezer jam and a small bowl of cut up strawberries (for Kedzie and) for strawberry shortcake that was to be devoured that night. To freeze the strawberries so that they could be taken out of the freezer one berry at a time, they were washed and dried and then placed in the freezer on these cookie sheets. Once frozen solid, we put the strawberries in old yogurt containers we've been saving through the winter. So far, so good. As for the freezer jam, I simply followed the recipe found on the insert of Sure-jell low sugar recipes. The pink box is the one that we prefer as it's a low sugar recipe that still jells nicely. Easy peasy and so delicious. Everyone who tries it, raves about how fresh the jam tastes. It's true, it beats cooked jam in my book.

To make the shortcake we usually follow this recipe (we omit sugaring the strawberries as we like it a bit more fresh) but we had some leftover scones that we crumpled up, put sliced strawberries on top and then whipped up some cream. So fresh, simple and scrumptious. 
Sam's parents have a huge mulberry bush in their backyard that is currently overflowing with fruit. I'm thinking Kedzie and I might head out there this afternoon and do some picking and eating and, perhaps, some jam making.

Oh, and this morning we worked on this homemade money saver. I'm about to use it for the first time on some cloth diapers. I'll let you know how it goes. We used Dr. Bronner's baby Castille soap so it would be unscented. I love scent in my laundry but little Kedzie's skin is very sensitive. We thought we'd keep it simple! Oh, and the washing soda (found in the recipe) can now be found at Ace Hardware on Merrimon Avenue, the lovely lady said she'd had two people special order it (including us) and will now be carrying it on the shelves! All you Asheville people who want to make your own laundry detergent, now's your chance!


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