Ah, Strawberries, those ripe sweet juicy red non-fruits that we all think of as a fruit. I have a lot of strawberries in my soft fruit garden, I have two kinds of strawberries my June producers, that give me one big push of fruit in the spring, and then spend the rest of the summer sending out babies, which is great for transplanting and as give away gifts to friends.
The second type of strawberry that I grow is a everbearing, this means that I get less strawberries but I get two or sometimes even three crops from them, I love having the mix, the june ones give me the first fresh fruit of the spring, other then rhubarb, and then the everbearing keeps me in strawberries thoughout the rest of the summer and typically even into the fall.
I have enough june bearing strawberries that this year I hope to preserve at least a hundred pds of strawberries plus fresh eating, I have found that I like strawberries perserved three ways, Dried, Canned and frozen. I don’t make a lot of strawberry jam, but I do like to do strawberry fruit which is very easy to turn into jam once opened.
When I am drying them, I wash, top and slice an dry, sometimes I will dip some of the biggest peices in suger and save them in a glass jar, and then use them as a finishing touch, once they are fully dry, you can also grind them into a strawberry poweder.
For Canning, I find strawberres are a little touchy when it comes to mold, so I do can them in a med syrup, raither then a light.
For Freezings, I like to put them out on a tray in a single line and fresh as fast as possable and then pop them off frozen solid and then into freezer bags, or I will cook them down with fresh ginger or a touch of lemon juice or other fruits and then cool and bag, freezing them flat and then stacking them for later use.
I like to do my strawberry plants with clean straw bedding, I find that it helps keep the berries clean and the bedding helps keep the soil from drying out.
I do have a third type of strawberries but I consider them to be wild fruit, I have alpine or wild strawberries growing in my front yard, only DH has the ability to lay on the ground and pick those tiny, tiny but o so flavorful berries, he brings me in a couple cups, which I then mix with my garden grown and use them to Booster that amazing flavor.
Strawberries have to be one of the easiest plants to grow in a garden, if you give them some compost, full sun, and around 1 to 2 inches of water per week that they are producing, including flowering time, and you have it made.
Ways to keep your rows vary with folks like and dislikes, its totally up to you on how you like to keep them, some folks like single thick rows like you would get at a U-pick, some folks like to do a stagger double row with about 12 inches apart, and other’s like myself will do a three row stagger, its like a V with a plant on the points with a three foot raised bed, the raised beds should be around 6 inches or more high.
The first thing I want to do when we have our first flush is just a simple wash, slice and sugar to pull the juice out and then serve dripped over with our maple syrup.
What or how do you eat the first batch of strawberries of the season?