Monday, May 9, 2011

Picking, Freezing, and Preserving Goodness

Strawberry Fields Forever

This past weekend was the opening of the season for you-pick strawberries at Scott’s Strawberry Farm. My son and I beat the Saturday crowds and picked in the coolness of Friday evening. Sampling the irresistibly sweet goods as we went along, we managed to bring home about a five-gallon bucket full of strawberries. The smell of fresh strawberries wafted through my house and smiles abounded.

In attempt to eat more local, I am going to put some effort into taking advantage of produce when it is in season this summer. Instead of driving and buying frozen organic berries from the grocery store in mid-winter to make my yummy smoothies, I will skip downstairs to my chest freezer and pop open a bag of frozen strawberries.

I also made my first attempt at making strawberry preserves. The air was humid and sticky sweet in my kitchen last night as the sugar, water and strawberries simmered and I patiently waited for that magical moment that the syrup thickened. The mixture is setting for 24 hours before it is scooped into delightful little jelly jars and simmered in their warm water bath for longer term storage.

The humidity of last night had lifted and night air had done its natural thing and cooled my house overnight. The preserves had set up well while I slept and breakfast was a welcome treat – cereal topped with fresh strawberries shared with my little dude.

Straw Strawberries

The grass is long and my seasonal allergies (grasses) came back in their tried and true way on Saturday. I usually do not mind cutting the grass, but today I know it will involve much sneezing and eye-watering and an immediate shower afterwards. This is where I share my final employ of the strawberries – ice cream! I made two quarts of mouth-coating, calorie-laden, Ben & Jerry’s strawberry ice cream. It is my reward and incentive for cutting the grass today. Off to do some mowing!

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