I remember the sweet, delightful aroma of fresh-picked berries from my childhood-either the large, domestic berries I would help my mom pick and clean and eat, or the itsy, bitsy little ones I would pick in the ditches with my Grandpa and Grandma. I could always smell them along the dusty country dirt road when it was time to pick them in June, and Grandpa and I would head out with our ice cream bucket, and see who could find them without stepping on them. The best part was the eating them in Grandma's red kitchen, with fresh cream poured over them and dunking fresh bread into the strawberry and cream mixture-ummm!
Sweet memories of picking with mom at all the u-pick patches also flooded my memory today, and I wanted to provide the same fun and memories for my children. Even though we have berries in our garden, we don't get enough at one time to do them up and freeze a bunch, but I do get enough for all the fresh eating we want, along with pies, shortcakes, and fresh with yogurt. I will also use my own berries for making jams this week.
But for the big job of freezing mashed berries for winter shortcakes and Angel Food cakes, I opted for the u-pick patch run by our friends with the greenhouse.
Tyler entertained himself for a long time with his trike, and then once the owner's girls came out to join us, of course he wanted to be right in the middle of things too-and he and the 4 yr old friend then entertained themselves with wayyyy too many strawberries for a mid-morning snack-despite mom's attempts from 5 rows away to remind him he was probably full, he decided to keep eating, and wasn't long and he had a tummy ache.
We had to laugh at him though-the tell-tale signs of strawberry over-indulgence were everywhere-face, shirt, hands-he was literally covered in strawberry juice!
Kendell, Nick and I managed to pick 40 pounds-about 6 full 1 1/2 gallon icecream buckets-and after paying for them, and returning home with our stash of berries, promptly put Tyler in bed-actually he put himself in bed-where he slept for an hour, and woke up telling me "Mama, owwie all gone" after patting his little tummy, and heading to the bowl of berries I was in the process of cleaning.
I LOVE berries, but after hulling and washing berries for FOUR hours, I was a bit tired of looking at them, and was very glad to get the last container finished before the frozen pizzas were done in the oven. The angel food cake from the Amish at my morning's visit to the Farmer's Market was cut and ready for fresh mashed berries and Schwans ice cream, and I had 5 1/2 gallon containers froze, as well as a 5 pound cottage cheese container-and I was thinking-No, I don't need to pick more berries-we will make jams with whatever we get off our own patch.
They will taste really good though this winter!!