In a Jam

It’s finally over!  The stress, the late night hours, and the constant pressure to stay on schedule are behind me for another year.  The 2012 Strawberry Crush, aka Jamapalooza, is behind me.  The few remaining strawberries can be picked and eaten casually while passing by the raised beds.  This year’s crop didn’t break any records, but after two years of late freezes, it is the best one we’ve had for a while.  The thing that sets this year’s harvest apart from any other is the fact that John picked most of the strawberries.  Without his help, I would have been in a real…pickle.

When I asked John for help in past years, I got a variety of excuses.  Sometimes he would claim that bending over so much hurt his back.  Other times he would say he was too busy.  One year he even told me to just let them rot, like I could actually do that.  Instead, I would take two or three days of vacation during strawberry season to keep up with the delicious fruit that seemed to ripen all at once in a matter of hours on a warm, windy day.

I’m not sure why he was so much more willing to help this year, but a couple of things happened that made the task a bit easier.  First, we had some cool days and much cooler nights that slowed the ripening of the fruit.  That meant the quantity of fruit that had to be picked each day was much smaller requiring less time bent over the strawberry beds.  Second, John tried using a small plastic crate as a stool so he was leaning forward from his seat rather than bending from the waist.  I would estimate that he picked 80-85% of the crop all by himself compared to the 10-15% he normally picks.

Of course I still had to clean the berries and cook and can the mixture, but with John’s help, I only had to take one vacation day to produce 25 pints of delicious strawberry jam.  I also put two quarts of berries in the freezer, but that is hardly worth mentioning when compared to the intensive labor required to make jam.  Despite the hours spent over the kitchen sink and a hot stove, the finished product is definitely worth the effort.  In fact, I might plant another strawberry bed now that I know I can count on John to get me out of a jam!

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to RSS feed