Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Strawberry Picking!

On Monday June 19th, Zeke and I went strawberry picking with Kim and her kiddos. I haven't ever got strawberry picking before. Honestly I was kind of intimidated by it. See I'm a planner.....shocking right! I like to know what I'm getting into and I like there to be a bit of structure to things. So with the hand painted signs pointing the way down the long and winding road and my past history of stopping at strawberry picking places and being told they were closed for u-pick I haven't felt super comfortable about going. But it's always easier to go somewhere with friends. 

Zeke and I went to Kim's and then we all piled into her van and headed out. The place we went is only about 5 minutes from her house. 

We got our boxes and the gentleman gave us instructions on where to pick. Honestly I didn't listen very well. I heard something about red flags and that we should move the red flags so the next person would know where to pick. I pretty much just started picking in the row where the red flag was and called it good. 

Zeke man thankfully was not a super serious strawberry picker because his idea of a perfect berry and mine differed quite a bit! :) 

The weather was great for picking...cloudy! It did start to warm up right around the time we were ready to leave. We timed it well! ;)

Yummy berries!!! 

Kim's kids have gone strawberry picking before so they knew what to do! 

I think we were there for less than an hour! 

My cute Zeke...for some reason he was proud of his empty strawberry container! 

I bought just over 5lbs of strawberries. At first I was just going to make strawberry shortcake and then we were going to eat a bunch, but it really was a lot of strawberries. I knew I didn't want jam....we just don't use jam that much. Then it dawned on me...fruit leather! 

Kim had told me about doing a vinegar wash to help the berries stay good longer. I filled the sink halfway up with water and then poured in 2 cups of vinegar. You could smell it, but it wasn't strong and it didn't change the taste of the berries at all! 

After they soaked for a couple minutes I started taking them out. I just used my fingernail to scoop out the stem area. 

I just love the color of fresh ripe berries!!! 

I pureed the strawberries with a bit of sugar and lemon juice and then spread the puree thinly on my silicone baking mats and dried it out at 170 degrees for around 3 hours. I figured out it goes much faster if you keep your oven door open a bit for the moisture to escape. I ended up making 3 batches of fruit leather which came out to over 50 individual fruit leathers. We also had 2 large cereal bowls worth of whole strawberries to eat. They taste SO good...even Owen and Zeke who won't eat strawberries absolutely LOVE the fruit leather. Yay!!!! 

My raspberry bush is crazy full this year so I'll be making raspberry fruit leather as well. Yum Yum!!!