Picking strawberries with your child sounds like such a wholesome--dare I say idyllic?--thing to do, doesn't it? Yes. But "picking" is really just a euphemism for "eating."
Cubby and I accompanied the MiL to the pick-your-own farm yesterday to load up on strawberries. This is the same farm A. went to with his parents and the same farm the MiL went to with her parents. That's a long family history of strawberry picking.
We went with the MiL because I figured that way at least one of us would actually pick in a somewhat efficient manner. I had no illusions that Cubby would help at all. In fact, I assumed I would spend most of the time chasing him up and down the rows.
I filled one bucket, though I picked a lot more than that because about every other berry went into that boy's gaping strawberry-smeared maw. The MiL picked three buckets full. She froze some last night and made a batch of strawberry jam.
I made strawberry-rhubarb jam today with some more of the berries. Cubby helped.
Mashing is an excellent activity for a toddler, provided you have a really big pot to contain the enthusiastic splashing that will ensue.
Shortly after this I kicked him out of the kitchen and enlisted A. to watch him so I could do the boiling of jam and filling of jars for canning without a small child under my feet. Safer for all that way.
I canned five pints of jam. It is entirely possible this will be the only canning I will do this year. Maybe I can get Cubby to do it instead.