This time of year holds something special. I mean, deep down inside I hate it because it’s hot and I’m always bothered, but I love it for a reason that is not about temperature, sunta – errrr – burns, or outdoor activities that require 80 + SPF (and no, it’s not the UEFA Euro, although that is also super important right now):
When was the last time you ate with the seasons? This is not a thing anymore because we can get bananas, strawberries, and lemons all year ’round! If you think about it, it is not really natural, is it? It is mind-boggingly convenient, but we have to think about how far those fruits have traveled to feed us in the winter, and how many resources were involved in getting them here. Whatever happened to preserving for the cold months of the year? Remember the art of canning?
This is the first year I have become fully conscious of this and I want to take advantage of our beautiful orchards in this breathtaking valley. While attending the farmers markets is all beautiful and lovely, there is something else that is available this time of year that is just as fun, rewarding, and bonus: zero waste…
I’m doing so much yelling today. Luckily, we live where we live, and in this beautiful valley we have many orchards that offer U-Pick. A few friends and I recently found a nice little orchard in Creston to pick six buckets of strawberries. Yes. Six buckets of strawberries.
Unfortunately for the berries, we had heavy rain recently (fortunately for us to ward off wildfires), which made many moldy berries (alliteration – check!). This meant they had to be processed very quickly once we arrived back home. An aromatic abundance of delicious awesomeness (alliteration – check check!) …
But now I had two buckets of strawberries to work with! Don’t panic! Don’t you know there are endless things you can do to enjoy your riveting red berries?
- freeze them for smoothies or to thaw later for waffles, etc.
- make a strawberry sorbet or popsicles for those hot days: I just used two cups of strawberries, chucked them in the food processor, and added my desired sweetness in maple syrup. I would suggest freezing these either in popsicle thingies (do these have a name?), or in scoops.
- make any strawberry dessert (why do I always run to Pinterest?)
- make strawberry jam
- make cool strawberry drinks for summer (like this strawberry limeade)
- or check out other strawberry recipes to use ’em up
It was a beautiful day; not too hot, and the rain did not fall from the clouds. We spent just over an hour together picking some strawberries. My two buckets of strawberries were emptied into a cardboard box, which I will compost or reuse at another time, and they had some gorgeous chickens, so I could not resist the farm fresh eggs! So in a short time I managed to: avoid plastic packaging at the store, support local farmers, spend time with friends, pick and eat delicious strawberries, and challenge myself to try something new with an abundance of fruit.
With strawberry season ending I must think of what’s next on my U-Pick list… Definitely peaches in August. There is nothing better than Creston peaches in August!