Berry Delicious

It is the beginning of berry season at our favorite local farm, the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island.

We purchase almost all our produce from the farm from the beginning of June until the last day of October.  And sometimes we even u-pick our strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries!  Portland/Vancouver residents are so fortunate to have this family friendly farm located just a few minutes from downtown Portland

Local folks!  Grab your kids and buckets and head out to the island this weekend! The berries are perfect.

While we were there to deliver a fresh supply of photo note cards and pick our first strawberries, we also stocked up on Pumpkin Patch broccoli, and the lovely Pumpkin Patch baby beets and English peas you see being prepared for dinner in the photo above.

Fresh, tender peas seasoned with a bit of salt, pepper and butter bring back childhood memories of my great-grandmother's garden - and her fresh peas.  And beet greens - I start craving them about the first of March!  Select nice, fresh, bright green beet tops, clean them well, and cook them (without water) in a little sautéed bacon and onion for about 15 minutes.  Sigh!

But we were talking about berries weren't we?  Sorry - got carried away thinking about those veggies!

So - here they are!  Oregon's own fabulous, juicy, delicious, luscious, melt-in-your mouth, to die for, you'll never forget them, Hood strawberries.

Generously piled on a delicious waffle (that I need to tell you about), and then covered with freezer strawberry jam! Which I also need to tell you about!

So first - the jam.  If you haven't discovered freezer jam, you are going to love me for telling you about it!    It is so simple to make.  A neighbor taught me a few years ago and I make lots of it all summer - strawberry, blueberry, peach, and apricot being my favorites.

Basically, for every quart (4 cups) of berries or fruit, you need 3/4 to 1 1/4 C sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit and your taste) and about 1 1/2 to 2 T fresh lemon juice. Remove stems, peels, seeds, etc., and cut the fruit into small pieces about 1".  Place the prepared fruit, sugar and lemon juice into a wide bottom saucepan or skillet, bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.  Use medium low heat - just enough to keep the bubbles going but not so hot it scorches (UGH).  (You may need to adjust the cooking time a little to suit your preference for jam consistency.) Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.  Place in clean plastic or glass containers and when completely cool, place in freezer.  OR make pancakes while you are waiting for the jam to cool and eat right away!  Note: the jam will keep for about three weeks in the refrigerator.  I  keep jam in the freezer for up to 10 months.

And speaking of pancakes!  I have just made the most wonderful pancakes - we liked them so much that I went through my files and purged every single pancake recipe I have ever used!  Debbie, who writes a most charming and beautiful blog Pretty + Simple, recently shared this recipe for pancakes that she found on honeyflake.  Don't even hesitate one minute - just make them.  They are delicious - especially smothered in raspberries and butter the way my grandfather used to eat them.

They are equally good with maple syrup and blueberries, which is my husband's preferred topping.

Because the recipe Debbie shared was so good and we both enjoyed it so much, I decided to tweak it a little to see if I could modify it for waffles.  And it worked! 

Refer to the original recipe. In place of the butter, use vegetable oil and  instead of one egg, use two.  Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the milk and oil. In a separate bowl, beat the whites until they are almost stiff.  Mix the dry and wet ingredients as instructed, and then fold in the egg whites.  Bake on a well oiled waffle iron.

If you haven't visited Debbie before now, I recommend you take the time to check out Pretty + Simple.  You may especially enjoy her adventures making real maple syrup from maple sap here, and here and this post about baby chicks just cracks me up!

I wish you all a summer of lovely, fresh produce, and a freezer full of lovely jams by summer's end! You will definitely need them for Ableskivers!

Oh, to have your berries and

Oh, to have your berries and jam on top of Greek yogurt and nuts... yum yum.

Delicious post, Pam!! I

Delicious post, Pam!! I haven't had breakfast yet but now I know what I want! Yum!

One year we went to one of our local farms here on Vancouver Island and bought a flat of fresh fruit. Plums, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and more.

I ended up making 43 jars of jam in all kinds of combinations: 3 Berries (strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries), Pear with Amaretto, Tomatoes and Oranges - you get the idea.

We had so many jars of jams and spreads that at Christmas time that year I made different loaves, Pumpkin Loaf, Gingerbread Loaf, Banana Loaf etc. I made up colourful bags with 2 different loaves and 3 jars of jam as gifts. I still had lots left over. We had jam for about 3 years!

Aah, Pam... thanks so much!

Aah, Pam... thanks so much! That was so sweet of you!

I'm drooling just looking at your gorgeous photos. This is the first year that I *ever* planted beets and I'm excited to try your recipe although ours won't be ready for awhile. Your sinkful of fresh veggies makes me want to reach out and grab a handful of peas!

Thanks too for the sharing your recipe for freezer jam. Can't wait to try that!

Now about those pancakes... we love them! We love them so much that we had them for a late night snack yesterday! :) They are *that* good! Now I'm going to have to try out the waffles next especially since you were kind enough to take the time to figure out the waffle ingredient details. Leftovers for waffles would be excellent reheated in the toaster for those busy days when you need to grab something to eat and run.

Oh and one more thing... I can't believe how many berries are on that bush(?) in your first photo. That's pretty much a bucket right there!

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend... berries, veggies and all! :)

Dang, Sauvie has way more

Dang, Sauvie has way more produce than we're seeing out here in Hillsboro. I'm absolutely dying for the first blueberries and razzles of the season!

OK, now you've got me

OK, now you've got me drooling!