Strawberry Picking in Berkshire and Homemade Jam

Summer = strawberries, especially with Wimbledon coming up, and there’s nothing quite like locally grown British strawberries. I don’t remember ever going strawberry picking before, so after hearing that a couple of friends had been, and seeing photos on Instagram, I figured why not! It’s a great way to get outdoors, engage in a local tradition, and it’s really good fun with kids too.

We headed down to Cobbs Farm Shop just outside Hungerford to find out how it all works. We picked our punnets up from the farm shop, paid our £2 deposit each and headed out to the fields.

We started with the gooseberries which were just ripe and not too soft. They’re actually a bit better like that if you’re planning to cook them or use them in preserves. I’ve not used gooseberries much before, so we just picked one punnet, which I’ll probably use for compote and have with mackerel or in a sweet dish with natural yoghurt. After collecting all of our gooseberries, we moved on to the strawberry fields. The strawberries were beautifully shiny, red and ripe – just like jewels! We picked what we needed and headed back to the farm shop to pay up after a bit of time to look around. It’s a lovely farm shop actually with a great range of fresh produce, meat, and a cafe too.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a bit scared of making jam. Picking strawberries was the motivation I needed to finally have a go. With the help of a great strawberry and elderflower jam recipe from fabfood4all – a true authority on jam-making (and possibly the loveliest person on Instagram!) – I was able to make my first ever batch of jam. And it was a success! The sweet strawberries are the hero, but with the occasional clear elderflower flavour. It looks so pretty too with the little elderflowers interspersed throughout the jam.

It was a great weekend and the best way to enjoy the sun and join in with a lovely British tradition. I have been collecting my family’s jars for a while for general pickling purposes, so they came in handy here. My family have been keen to try some jam too so the jars will go back to them full. My Dad is particularly fond of this kind of recycling!

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