"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 7 October 2011

A case of... "Strawberry fields Forever" :)

Patiently waiting...
MKid is visiting us for the week, so last weekend we (RMan, myself, MKid, NGirl and WGuy) toddled off to Polkadraai Strawberry Farm in Somerset West.  It is a farm where you can pick your own strawberries - as much, or as little as you want.  In MKids case, he had a field day (with or without the pun) LOL
RMan was aghast - MKid grinned as broad as a
Cheshire cat, he obviously loved every minute of it...
2kgs in his bowl alone
They have scarecrows dotted all over the fields - very cute.  I wonder if they help?  Which reminds us, we will need to get some up on the farm also - well, I have been saving all our torn and scruffy clothing for a while...
Strawberry picking action
So, what to do with 6 - 7 kgs of strawberries.  Well, first off we all had an enormous a bowl of strawberries and cream each for dessert that evening.  Actually, I think we all OD on them LOL
MKid had the biggest bowl full - 2 kgs...
Okay, So now there are 5 - 6 kgs left.  I was going to make strawberry preserves, strawberry jam and strawberry cordial from Lynda Browns' The Preserving Book (my bible for preserving all things). But, MKid was in residence, and he had just been given a pair of roller blades.  Roller blades / grandchildren and hot sugary pots full of danger do not encourage excessive hours in the kitchen.  So, strawberry jam it was...
However, MKid did help me hull and halve the strawberries.
Hubble bubble, toil and trouble...
Into the pot, with plenty of sugar, home made apple pectin and lemon juice - I felt like a little like a witch with my pot boiling and bubbling - toiling and troubling...

But the end result was worth every minute of the three hours it took...
Some of the jars strawberry jam...
... 7 kgs of homemade strawberry jam - 1 1/2 kgs for MKid to take home, 1/2 kg each for the workers in our company, 1/2 kg for CGuy, who came for dinner last night, and the balance is in the dark, cool(ish) pantry...
Strawbverries, rooibos, dried strawberry roll,
crystallized strawberries...
some of the goodies we came home with
Oh, and I found some loose leaf rooibos (redbush) tea at the Strawberry farmstall - brilliant!  Now there's 1 1/2 kgs in stock - that should last me awhile :)

But, and this was delicious, RMan loved harvesting the strawberries from the field - and says he can't wait to harvest our farm produce. :)  Nothing more satisfying than growing your own, and picking it fresh from the garden before sitting down to munch it - with all it's nutrition and goodness still stored within...!

If you live in a town and don't grow your own fruit and vegetables, or don't / aren't able to grow things like strawberries, then click on this link and you may find a place near to you where you can do "Pick Your Own".  It saves all the packaging used in supermarkets, you are picking super fresh produce, and it is a wonderful days outing :)  Support the farmers, not the supermarkets!


  1. Thanks for the PYO link. Wish the organic strawberries were not way up in the Northwest. We buy our strawberries at Woolworths, but knowing that fruit is black listed for poison ;~((( Otherwise I try to choose the Farming for the Future label.

  2. Elephant's Eye - You're welcome :)

    Black listed for poison?

  3. My favorite part of spring, stawberries! Yummy. I can see reading your blog from this point on will make me very hungry. As snow sets in here you will be going full force with fresh goodies. Can't wait to see.

  4. A good picking party you had! And the end result .. the jam will bring happiness when you have your winter next year.

    Maybe Elephant Eye may be referring to the poisons/pesticides etc. used on commercial strawberry fields. I think they're on the 'dirty-dozen' list of produce not to buy unless organically produced. Here's a link:


    Have a blessed weekend.

  5. Score .. I just placed a hold on the Lynda Brown book with the library (it's sitting on the shelf:) Thanks!

  6. Wow, I just discovered you blog after you visited my blog (THANK you!) and I didn't know where to comment first, I love everything you've written. What an inspiration you are to those of us in other parts of the world. If you can do it there, without easy access to eco friendly stuff, anyone can do it. I'm going to be perusing all over your blog! Thanks for sharing and congrats for all you are doing.

  7. Jane - Mine too LOL Yes - that is the darnedest thing about winter - food, food and more food LOL And we blame it on keeping warm - you guys help spread my waistline this past winter - time for revenge HEHEHEHEHEH

    Mrs Mac - Thanks for the link - I'll check it out. Need to phone Polkadraai - never thought they would / could use pesticides on a public picking farm - Oh, I hope not...

    Glad you found the book - it is brilliant!

    1st Man - Welcome - and thank you for your kind words :)

    Tell me about the lack of eco-friendly stuff here...! So I've just resorted to go as simple as possible - sort of back 100 years - that should do LOL

    I'm keeping my eye on your blog too LOLOLOLOL

  8. I made strawberry jam from our own strawberries last year. It was my first attempt and I didn't do well. It didn't keep, grew mould after 3 or 4 weeks.

    But I LOVED the smell in the kitchen while it was cooking. It was incredible! And so yummy. We decided to double our patch this year to make more, but the goats got to it! :(

    It sounds like you had fun from start to finish!

  9. Dani, the strawberries look wonderful! SO pretty.

    I really like the PYO link. I love the instructions they have for canning. I visit there often.

  10. The strawberries are huge and look delicious.

    Glad the whole family participated. Looks like a delightful time was had by all.

  11. Linda - Possibly the reason your jam turned mouldy is because there wasn't enough heat in the mixture when you sealed the jars. The heat should create a vacuum effect. Did you place a ring of wax paper on top of the jam before you sealed it?

    Leigh - Yes, it is a brilliant site, isn't it :)

    MsBelinda - Great fun - wish I could cook more with MKid - he loves it :)


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