>> Saturday, June 5, 2010
My two younger boys and I spent the morning at an organic u-pick strawberry farm a couple weeks ago. The boys were amazingly good and even helped, so I kept picking and picking. Tip for any parents who want to take their kids strawberry picking: Bring a wagon, put a bucket of strawberries in it, and let them have at it.
We ended up with five 5-lb buckets plus I threw in an extra 5-lb box to make a total of 30 pounds of strawberries.
We ate one bucket, made one and a half into jam, made half of one into syrup, froze two, and dried the last 5 pounds.
I didn't plan very well in advance, so we picked up some packages of low-sugar pectin and some canning jar lids at the grocery store on the way home one day. Next time, I'd like to use Pomona Pectin because I've heard good things about it, and I'd like to give these reusable canning lids a try.
Strawberry Jam Cost Summary
To make 8 pint jars of jam, I spent...
- $21 on strawberries
- $7.50 on low-sugar pectin
- $1.44 on lids
- $1.44 on sugar
Jam in the same size jar costs $5 from my farmers market, and the Whole Foods brand is $4.50 (adjusting for jar size). So it ends up being a money saver, but not a crazy amount of savings.
If I had prepared in advance, I could have gotten cheaper pectin and lids, but it definitely saves to use the low-sugar pectin. For local readers, the strawberries from Vollmer Farm are AMAZING, but my friend Lina told me about Whitted Bowers Farm, where the strawberries are a little bit cheaper. All in all, I think I could get the price down next year to about $3.25 a jar.
I'm hoping these cost summaries aren't turning anyone off of preserving their own food, because I am enjoying it. But I think it's also interesting to see whether or not it's really saving money, rather than just assuming it is because I want it to.
I'll tell you something else...Dehydrating foods is not cost effective AT ALL because we eat them so fast!
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