I hope I’m getting this one out to you in time for the upcoming strawberry harvesting season. In my neck of the woods, local strawberries are harvested in June/July. And there’s really nothing like locally grown produce!
One of my favourite things to do is to visit a farmers’ market on a Saturday morning. Like almost anything else in life, there’s a skill that needs to be developed with shopping at farmers’ markets. First, you need to go early to get the best stuff. If things are seasonal, such as strawberries, then arriving at the market by 7am will ensure you get the best of the crop for that particular day. However, if you’re a budget shopper, try arriving at the market around 1pm. Most farmers’ markets close up at 1 or 2pm, and rather than bring that unsold produce back home, they will most likely lower the price. This is where you can stock up and save – especially if you’re into preserving produce.
John.e and I like to frequent St. Jacob’s Market in St. Jacob’s, Ontario. Nearly every time we drive to Kitchener to visit my folks, we find an hour or two to drive that extra 15 minutes to the town of St. Jacob’s. Sometimes, we head only to the market, and sometimes we just go into town and do a little retail therapy. They have some of the best little shops!
Back to the strawberries – If you’re close to a farmers’ market, support your local farmers and buy their produce. If not, and you need to head to a local grocery store, check the packaging and buy the strawberries that were grown closest to where you live. In fact, Dear Reader, it’s a good practice to buy everything as local as possible!! I’m sure I don’t need to educate you on the benefits of buying locally, so I’ll just move on to the recipe for this delightfully simple strawberry preserve.
- 4 cups strawberries, washed and roughly chopped (approximately 2 pints)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Place the strawberries in a deep sauce pan. Pour the sugar over top and pour in the lemon juice. Simmer for 60-90 minutes over medium-low heat until the desired thickness/consistency has been reached. This recipe makes 500ml.