Go Berry Picking and then Make Freezer Jam!
Finally, a day of sunshine! I was planning on sharing another project to keep the kids busy this summer but that will have to wait! The girls and I met some friends at Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale today and picked blackberries. It is so much fun- youâ€™re spending quality time with your kids and you have something to show for it afterwards (unlike going to the movies). In our case, we had ten pounds of blackberries and three pounds of discounted blueberries (the blueberries were overripe and only $1.50 a pound. They are perfect for baking/freezing so really buying those saved me the time of picking them and saved me money!).
We are very fortunate to have Ottawa Farms in our backyard. Well, not quite but itâ€™s less than 4 miles down the road (I know this for a fact because itâ€™s one of my running routes!). So we are able to pick strawberries in April and May and blackberries and blueberries in June. Blackberries are my personal fav and I find that they freeze the best. I like have plenty in my freezer to throw into smoothies or to put in muffins (blackberries are really, really good in muffins). Probably the easiest thing to make with an abundance of berries is jam.
I started making jam last year and it is really easy! If you are intimidated, start small. I started making freezer jam. You can get a jar of instant pectin at any grocery store or Big Box Store. I know at Walmart they sell it in the housewares section, with the canning supplies, usually on a top shelf. Then all you need is sugar and small plastic or glass containers (I use Rubbermaid ones with a screw-on top). The directions on the Ball Instant Pectin jar are very easy. Basically you mash the berries, add a certain amount of pectin and sugar, and put it into containers. Freezer jam will keep for a year. I find the jam lasts in the fridge for at least 2 weeks (much longer than if you just had berries sitting in your fridge). My girls like jam on fresh baked bread, toast and swirled in yogurt.
So, if you are looking for something to do- go berry picking and then make some freezer jam! Every time you take another container of jam out of the freezer you will have a summer memory to re-live.