Most years I completely miss strawberry season. It comes so early for us here in the Pacific Northwest that it is barely, sort-of-consistently-sunny when they are ripe. And after about three weeks, they are all but gone for the year. This year, however, I stayed organized enough to stay on top of the harvest season.

I called around to several local farms offering u-pick berries to find the best deal and decided on Thistle Down Farms in Junction City. Their prices were on par with most everyone else and they don’t spray their strawberries, which I think is important. Holy moley – I’m now up to my ears in strawberries!

My lovely friend Bekah took a spin out there with me and we each picked a bucket full. I think mine ended up being around eight pounds of juicy, sweet, Shuksan strawberries. They are a new variety for me, but it sounds like the Hoods this year just aren’t getting real sweet. The Shuksan strawberries are just great though.

I popped the bucket in the fridge for a night and Bekah met me the next morning for a day of canning. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you start canning the harvest this year:

  • wear closed shoes, no flip-flops
  • wear long-sleeves to prevent burns when things bubble up
  • have snacks on hand
  • have a nice long playlist queued up

We spent about four or so hours canning and ended up with about six pints of strawberry jam and six pints of strawberry-lemonade marmalade. I’ll give you a follow-up post with a recipe for the latter – it was amazing and surely needs it’s own spot on the blog.

It was great having company and Bekah was such a trooper, especially for her first time canning. We just chatted the day away listening to Adele, hulling berry tops and taking turns stirring. After all that though, I still want more! I’m planning to u-pick next week so I can freeze some and can up some fancy gifts. Enjoy the holiday weekend and more next week!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson