|strawberry field with ocean view|
Our family has a tradition that, for me, signifies the arrival of summer. Driving down the coast to Davenport and picking ripe, red strawberries. The destination: Swanton Berry Farm, a little north of Santa Cruz, is an organic farm with fields that span up and down highway 1. Depending on the time of year you can pick olallieberries, strawberries, or kiwis.
|moving through the rows looking for, and tasting the best specimens|
You will love this place, the view is amazing and to make a day of it we usually visit both the strawberry and olallieberry fields and then hit the beach. On the way home...the Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay has the some of the best fish tacos ever!
Picking all of those berries was a good reminder of how privileged we are. It is hard work bending over all of the plants, that type of work definitely leaves you with a backache. All the while we were picking, the field to the left full of migrant workers striping plants of their fruit. It is very humbling to remember that it is a privilege to be there for fun and not to have to be working to for wages.
With all of this beautiful fruit we came home and made jam, (of course, we also had to make strawberry shortcake!) To make jam, wash and chop fresh strawberries, as many as you like.
Add strawberries to a clean stock pot along with the sweetener of your choice (organic sugar, agave, honey, etc.). I don't usually measure I just add sweetener then taste. Simmer on medium heat until the liquid begins to release from the fruit. Do not add water. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for awhile with lid off, stirring occasionally until the jam becomes thick and fruit is less chunky.
Once the mixture begins to thicken a bit you can add a packet of fruit pectin or one tbls. per pint of liquid of kosher gelatin. Stir well until all dissolved, when the jam is nice and thick pour into clean, sterilized glass jars. At this point you can let it cool and refrigerate or freeze, or can your jam and store in your pantry. If the jam turns out a bit runnier then store bought jam, don't fret. Spoon over hot pancakes or french toast. It is heavenly that way! Enjoy...