Berries, Baskets and Beauty

I find having purpose to activities outside allows for excitement to build and adventures to come upon us. When you head out to pick berries and the children know there is jam coming after all their work, the curiosity builds. How will we make the jam? How long does it take? When can we eat it? What can we eat it on? How many types can we make?

Picking berries is a fun and rewarding activity for kids, and making jam is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labor long after the harvest season is over. Whether you’re picking blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cherries, here are some tips for a fun and successful berry-picking and jam-making adventure with your kids.

Picking Berries with Kids:

  1. Choose a farm that is family-friendly and allows U-Pick. Many farms offer U-Pick options, where you can go out into the fields and pick your own berries. Look for a farm that is well-maintained, has plenty of ripe berries, and has good safety protocols in place.

  2. Dress appropriately. Berry-picking can be messy work, so dress your kids in clothes that can get dirty. Long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes are recommended to protect from scratches and insect bites. Don’t forget hats and sunscreen for sunny days.

  3. Teach your kids how to pick the berries properly. Show them how to gently twist the berry off the stem without squishing it. Encourage them to pick only ripe berries and leave the unripe ones for later. Let them taste a few berries to get a sense of the sweetness.

  4. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Berry-picking can be hard work, so make sure to stay hydrated and fueled with healthy snacks.

  5. Have fun! Picking berries with your kids is a great way to bond and make memories. Take plenty of photos and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Making Jam with Kids:

  1. Choose a simple recipe. Look for a recipe that uses just a few ingredients and doesn’t require any special equipment. Strawberry or raspberry jam is a good place to start.

  2. Involve your kids in the process. Let them help wash and prep the berries, measure ingredients, and stir the jam. Teach them about food safety and hygiene, and have them wash their hands frequently.

  3. Be patient. Making jam can be a slow process, so be prepared to spend some time in the kitchen. Explain to your kids that the longer they stir, the better the jam will turn out.

  4. Have fun with the flavors. Add a twist to your jam recipe by mixing in other fruits or spices. Try adding lemon juice or cinnamon to your strawberry jam, or mixing in some blueberries with your raspberry jam.

  5. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Once the jam is ready, let your kids taste it on a piece of toast or a biscuit. Talk about how the jam will keep for months if stored properly, and plan to share some with friends and family.

Picking berries and making jam with kids is a fun and rewarding activity that teaches them about where their food comes from and how to make something delicious from scratch. Follow these tips and enjoy the bounty of the berry season with your family!

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