Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Field Trip Report: Strawberry Picking

Serious Picker Lorelei!
A slight diversion on the norm...

(Just a report on our first field trip, strawberry picking, rather than a book review.)

Our first field trip was a success!  Despite temperatures around 90 degrees and no shade whatsoever, we lasted about an hour at Butler's Orchard in Maryland.  We carpooled up with some good friends of ours, which was fun, especially for the chatty moms up front.  After blueberry picking for two years straight, I definitely learned a few things about strawberry picking.  Here are my lessons learned:

  • Bring small containers, preferably ones you can pop right into the refrigerator.
  • Strawberries are a tougher to pick than blueberries--easy to do, but...not as easy as blueberries.
  • There is no shade in strawberry fields.  The plants are too small.  Go on a cloudy day if possible!
  • Strawberries spoil so quickly!  I left ours sitting out in the GIANT container I got from the orchard for half of the day, until after bedtime when I had a few minutes to think and put them in the refrigerator.  By the next morning I had to throw away a quarter of our hard-earned bounty.
  • My niece Evangeline, hiding her berry face
  • Strawberries can be transformed into a zillion things!  Click here for my list.

And here are some things the kids learned (or, why you should take your kids strawberry picking):
  • The berries are so different from the ones you buy at the grocery store!  Lorelei and Ben were amazed at the fact that some strawberries were SMALLER than some blueberries they'd eaten.  And none were as large as grocery store strawberries.
  • Nothing is perfect in nature!  There were so many variations in strawberries...what a great life lesson.
  • Picking fruit is tough work!  Fun for an hour, but...if you have to do it all day long, that's tough.
  • Don't pick the unripe fruit...someone will be back in a week or so for them.
  • There's a lot of math that comes with cooking (okay, this is a general one, but Lorelei and Ben remembered this as we measured flour and strawberries and other ingredients).
  • Me and "the big kids" at the end of our picking
  • If you want to give it to your teacher, you'd better help make the strawberry jam!

We really had a great time, and I was amazed (as was my husband) at how much we made with our berries.  We didn't get to everything on our list, but we did make strawberry milkshakes, strawberry milk, chocolate covered strawberries, two types of strawberry jam (one healthier one with less sugar and more lemon juice, and one "freezer jam" with a gross amount of sugar in it), and the best: strawberry shortcake.

Ben smashes the berries for jam
Making chocolate covered strawberries...while holding Kiefer

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