When Life Hands You Strawberries . . .

by Katy on June 8, 2015 · 17 comments

Clearance strawberries

I stopped at The Grocery Outlet after dropping my son at school today. It’s hard to shop there with much of a plan, as their inventory varies from day to day. So sometimes I load my cart, while other days I simply buy their 50¢ avocados and cheap yogurt.

Today my eye was caught by strawberries on the clearance rack. Specifically 59¢/pound containers of strawberries. And since I recently stocked up on clearance priced pectin, I’m now good to go!

Being frugal often means unplanned purchases. This may seem contrary to some, but crazy good bargains don’t stick around while I ponder the purchase. If the price is super low, someone else will scoop it up while I methodically write out a pro-con list.

My thinking is basically like this:

“You are cheap, I buy you.”

So when life hands you strawberries . . .

You make freezer jam!

Freezer jam

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

AnnDenee June 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

Make jam!!!

What a great price on strawberries! I’d be making jam too.


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down June 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

ooo…I am so jealous!! I’ve been waiting for berries to come into season so I can snatch some up for a good price. My kids have just recently discovered jam and now I need to start making it! The problem is at $2.50/lb it really isn’t cost effective (although I do like knowing where the ingredients come from and that they are fresh).


K D June 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

I am so jealous of your Grocery Outlet. I did stock up on sunflower seeds that were marked down at Aldi, as well as a marked down cereal for my husband.


Katy June 8, 2015 at 11:34 am

It’s completely hit or miss. But when there’s a bulk option of something crazy cheap that we would normally buy, I do stock up!


Marcia June 8, 2015 at 11:36 am

Can’t even pick your own around here for that price!! We used to pick our own when we were …..ahem…..younger. I’ll still pick blueberries because it doesn’t involve crawling around on my hands and knees, but no more strawberries! At 72, I can barely manage to weed the garden without help. Knees and hips not happy in the lower areas of the earth.


Rachel June 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

My neighbors have a mulberry tree that grows mostly on my side of the fence. Thanks for the free mulberries, neighbors! Picked enough this week to put up our annual jam supply. Maybe a jar for the neighbors, too.


Anne June 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Every once in a while a few free strawberries cross my path. I actually only like them in jam. I wait until I get a few then make jam without the pectin. Just berries and sugar, then into the refrigerator. You see I don’t really want to get involved with the whole jam making thing and I’m too cheap to buy any pectin, so I make it without. ( I’m old and tired.)

So, of course, it’s somewhat runny, and if I had kids getting into it the jam would be all over the counters and floors. But I’m the only one eating it so I’m just careful. Okay, okay, once in awhile it decorates my shirt, but no strawberries get wasted.

I’m nothing, if not adaptable. 😀


Diane June 8, 2015 at 2:41 pm

Have you heard of this new store?

I need it, a Grocery Outlet or Aldis in my neighborhood. Basic food is just so expensive these days.


Kim June 8, 2015 at 3:17 pm

My little backyard strawberry garden has produced very small strawberries this year. It’s a sign that the plants are probably needing to replaced and I need to add some compost to the soil after they are finished. I get a handful or 2 which I just eat plain. Pick your own farms are charging $3.00/lb. here in Central Md.

Good news is I’m sitting at the traffic light at the entrance of our community on my way to take my son to an event at church. I look over towards the gas station which is owned by a grocery store chain and notice the tree in the little garden area is covered with little red fruits. I realize that it is a sour cherry tree and it is absolutely covered in fruit. Tonight I will be going up there to harvest as much of the fruit as I can before the birds get it! Sour cherry/ vanilla jam is the BEST! The funny thing is I have lived here for 25 years and never have I noticed this tree having fruit on it! I also picked up pectin from the markdown shelf about a month ago and I have plenty of jars so I am set!


Katy June 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Very cool!


Tammy June 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Sour cherry/ vanilla jam!! YUM!!!


Suzy June 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Our church had an anniversary event Sunday and served fresh strawberries . We brought home two tubs of leftovers – cleaned, topped and sliced – and made ten batches of freezer jam! Score!


Katy June 8, 2015 at 9:53 pm

And we have a winner!


emmer June 9, 2015 at 5:51 am

you can make jam in the microwave in about 20 minutes for a pint, with NO pectin. before you start, put a small plate in the freezer. then, slice/crush 2 1/2 cups of fruit into a glass container. I use a 9×4″ loaf pan. use a spoon to stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and 1 tsp butter or oil (to reduce foaming). allow juices to form for at least 30 min. stir again. put in microwave for 8 minutes at full power. stir. microwave for 6 min at full power. stir. microwave for 3 minutes. the mix has become darker and somewhat translucent. time for first test. with your stirring spoon half full, allow the jam mixture to drip off the side of the spoon and back into the pan. if it is totally runny and does not come together into a single drip, cook it 2 min longer. if it does, time or the wrinkle test. get your frozen plate, put one tablespoon of jam on it. let cool a few min so you don’t burn your finger. push the congealing mass with the end of your finger gently. if it sticks together and the top/outer skin wrinkles rather than separates, it’s done. if not, cook a minute or two longer. the alternative to the two tests is an instant read thermometer registering 220 degrees F. if you undercook, you get fruit syrup. overcooking is a dense blob that requires great creativity to use. you will learn to recognize the look and behavior of your microwave jam in just a few tries. it takes about 24 hours for it to set up completely, tho I regularly make a pint in the morning for supper that night. you can google for details of the jam tests for pix to help you. you can also google to instructions on making your own pectin if you have excess apples (or just the peels and cores).


Amanda June 9, 2015 at 8:28 am

I completely agree about unexpected deals. The problem comes when people don’t know getting a good deal on something you need from just buying stuff. My father-in-law was famous for finding “good deals.” God rest his soul, he died at 67 years of age with a house full of crap, still $50,000 short of paying off his mortgage (in a house worth $100,000 he had lived in for 30 years!).


Katy June 9, 2015 at 9:32 am

Yes, you can definitely go broke snapping up those “good deals.” Need any proof of this? Just look any anyone’s cart at Costco!


Katy June 9, 2015 at 9:33 am

And those strawberries were clearance priced cause they were extremely ripe, although not moldy yet. So I made sure to process them into jam immediately. I would not have bought all of them if I hadn’t had time in my schedule yesterday. Buying cheap strawberries and letting them rot would have been no bargain!


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