strawberry jamStrawberry season is actually winding down in the mountains of Appalachia, but what a lovely time of year!

There are so many little, strawberry-related memories from my growing up years.

  • Tiny, wild strawberries growing on a bank under the chestnut trees. My brothers and I would practically knock each other down to get at them.
  • My aunt and uncle growing strawberries to sell each spring. Any time we went to visit our cousins during strawberry season, we’d have to pick a flat of berries before we could to play. Nothing will keep you from eating that fruit like a quota.
  • My great aunt putting up one of those strawberry tower beds in her yard. It was covered with straw, the green leaves would poke through, and then came the fruit. I seem to remember “rabbit” being a curse word.
  • Mom making strawberry jam–oh the sweet smell of sugar and berries followed by sparkling red jars of jam!

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from Atlanta when I saw signs along the highway in SC advertising fresh strawberries. I’d have been a fool not to stop. I meant to buy a quart, but came away with a gallon. We ate as many as we could, mostly straight from the bucket, but I soon realized I’d either have to preserve some fruit or toss it.

Well. I wasn’t going to toss it.

So I made jam. And since my mother couldn’t pop over from West Virginia on the spur of the moment to walk me through the process, I did the next best thing. I used the recipe in the box of Sure-Jell. It’s basically strawberries, sugar (LOTS), and pectin. I think fancy folks add a little butter to cut down on the foaminess or lemon to “brighten” the jam.

Bring on the biscuits.