This year’s Summer has been a bit on the cold side, especially when comparing to last year which was completely awesome. This has lead to the growing season going ahead very slowly and us wondering whether we would have much to harvest at all this year. Luckily, the crops are now finally starting to show themselves and we have been able to enjoy homegrown food.
On the weekend, I went out with my youngest monkey to check on the green house and pick some strawberries. He is eagerly helping as much as he can in his 2 year old kinda way. We went out with one bowl for the strawberries, but quickly filled that with cucumbers, snow peas and carrots. I was not expecting the carrots to be ready and pulled one out just to check and surprised I said “Oi, that’s a nice carrot” and my little 2 year old echo exclaimed the same for every carrot I pulled out of the ground. He was great help for getting new bowls when we ran out, running up on the terrace, calling out for grandma to find a new bowl for him. Coming back down, laughing with the bowl on his head, every single time. In the end, he went back for 5 bowls.
After the green house, we moved on the pick strawberries, but on the way to the beds, we noticed that the black currant bushes were full of fruits, so we went to pick them first. Him holding the bowl and following me like a tail and me picking away. Once we were done with the black currants, I looked over at the red currant bushes thinking it was strange we had not seen any ripe fruits on them yet. But to my surprise there were plenty on them too, but they were hiding inside the bushes, which is a bit different to what they normally look like. So it seems those bushes have grown a bit in size this year.
Then we went on to pick the white currants too, since we were progressing so well. Big eyed 2 year old impressed at all the different colors and flavors in the bowls and very busy being my little handler. Except for when he went off to fiddle with the robomow, starting the alarm on it. But all innocent fun. Luckily he didn’t manage to start it since we had placed the sprinkler in the greenhouse to water and thus had sent the mower to “sleep” during that time. The mowers name is Bob for those who are interested and he is worth every penny. The kids have an interest in this little machine that is outrageous. The 2 year old wants to check on him and say good nigh to him every evening. They keep a cautious eye on him when he is out mowing and alerts us if he slips outside the of his mowing boundaries.
In the end we did reach the strawberries and got to pick them too and we had lots of fun doing so. After 1,5 hours in the garden, we had 2 kg black currants, 1 kg mixed red and white currants and 2-3 kg strawberries, in addition to our little vegetable harvest. With the sudden harvest of berries, I had to find something to make with it all and ended up spending the evening making an easy, but delicious summer berry jam.
2 kg black currants, de-stemmed and cleaned
1 kg red and white currants, de-stemmed and cleaned
1 kg strawberries, de-stemmed and cleaned
1 to 1,5 kg jam sugar (sugar with pectin)
Take the time to properly clean the berries and de-stem them. If you like chunks in your jam, leave the strawberries whole. If not, cut them into quarters. Put all the berries in a large pot, pour in the sugar. Add 100 to 200 ml water just to avoid the berries burning in the pot. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring regularly. Once at a boil, turn down to medium and leave to simmer, still stirring regularly. Once it’s cooked for a little while, use a large spoon to remove the foam that forms on top of the jam mixture.
The jam should cook for 1 to 1,5 hours. The longer it cooks, the more solid it will become in the jars, even if it is very liquid in the pot, so don’t let that fool you. I have still yet to make a jam that does not set once cooled.
Sterilize your jars and pour the hot jam into the jars and close immediately.
You can see how to sterilize the jars in my previous post
If you use some small, but nice jars, these make for gorgeous presents to give to your friends and family. Mind, I reuse baby food jars and still give them away. It is the content that matters.