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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Berries for the Freezer

Today, sandwiched between working on the camper, I took off to pick some strawberries to put in the freezer. (While we are still in this house, I can occasionally leave at nap time. Ethan's office is attached to our house so I just flip on the baby monitors.) My hope is that in two years I won't need to go to strawberry farms anymore, but I will be able to have enough from our own place to freeze. I don't cook much with the strawberries, but on Saturday we have berry day where we add berries to our cereal and oatmeal. It is my favorite breakfast of the week!



Today I picked 20 lbs of strawberries. I started freezing some tonight, and I will finish tomorrow. I thought I would show you some things that I would not do without for strawberry time.



The first one is a new one for me. I worked at a strawberry farm with my friends in high school and my first year of college. I found ways that "worked" to pick strawberries for long periods of time, but they all had their drawbacks. I could sit on my knees, but the straw got pretty itchy or I would kneel in strawberries. You could also sit, but you might end up with the nickname my dear friend got,"Berry Butt". There was also squatting or hunching, but both of these are hard on the back. So today I took with me a small gardening mat. Wow! Have I been missing out! I could kneel and sit without the straw poking me or berries staining me. Wish I would have used this years earlier . . .

The next thing I wouldn't do without at berry time is a baby spoon. It does a wonderful job of stemming the berries. It is the quickest thing I have found yet, and there is hardly any waste.

And last but definitely not least, a hard boiled egg slicer. Just set your berry in, push down, and you end up with beautifully sliced berries, thinner than I could ever do with a knife. (If you put the stem side down it slices cleaner too, by the way.)

So there you go. My favorite tools for berry time.

After I have a bowl of berries sliced, I lay them out on a cookie sheet with wax paper (will rip) or cereal bags (don't rip) underneath. I quickly get them to the freezer before they juice out and then flash freeze them. (So they are frozen on the outside, but not necessarily all the way through - about 15-20 minutes.) Then I scoop them up with a turner, put them into sandwich baggies that go into a large freezer bag, and I have berries ready to pull out for berry day.

Oh, I forgot to mention. I also eat a lot along the way. Mmmmm . . . I love this time of year!

5 comments:

Tim said...

Mmmm... berries...

Talked to any chickens lately? :)

Tim said...

By the way, where do you go to pick?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Tim-
Have you thrown any banana peels at road signs lately?

I had been going to Indianola the last 3 years, but this year I heard of a new spot around Otley. It's closer to us and the berries and field are great! This is their 5th year of business and they just started advertising outside of Pella. I'll definitely go there again as long as we don't have enough.

Amanda said...

Hi-
I found your blog through Gabby Gwenhwyfer. I have a question for you that doesn't really relate to this particular blog entry. I notice that you are going to build a pole barn type house to live in. My husband and I just bought some land (we live in your same town) and are researching this option. Would you be willing to provide us any info about who you are buying yours from, contractors you are using, etc. We are trying to estimate the cost of moving out there and what would be an economical way to do it. Thanks. oh, and the berries do look delicious.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Amanda-
Jennifer mentioned to me about a month or so ago that she knew someone who was interested in doing a pole building house too. I would be more than happy to share info with you. I'll get in contact with you . . .

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