Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Season

Very few things are better than fresh strawberries and blueberries. I don't mean the ones that you can go to Hannaford and get for $1.69/lb because they're in season. No, no, no. I'm talking about the berries that you not only have to drive to a farm to buy, but actually have to get down on your hands and knees and pick from the plant. 

I look forward to berry picking year round. It's what makes summer summer for me. A few weeks ago I went to a bridal shower at a local farm stand and they had some early strawberries. After eating frozen berries all winter and those measly excuses for berries that are sold in grocery stores it was heaven to finally put a real berry in my mouth. It was juicy, sweet, and most importantly, truly ripe. It hadn't traveled thousands of miles in a truck to get to my mouth - only 300 meters. 

My dad and I met up yesterday at Paul Mazza's farm in Colchester. Tom and I go there every year and Dad wanted to join in on the fun. It was hot. We spent over an hour picking and by the end were dripping in sweat. But all that work was worth it. My dad thought he had picked 9lbs. I guessed 12. I won the bet cause he ended up getting 12.5lbs. I picked 11.5 and Tom probably consume the 0.5lbs immediately after I got home.

With strawberry picking there comes one thing: too many strawberries. It's hard to stop with they're so good and there are so many in the field. There's no way we can eat all of the berries before they went bad so my dad and I spent last night preparing and freezing them. 

Freezing Fresh Berries
I used to hate freezing berries because I didn't know how to do it!! Last year someone let me in on a little secret: cooking pans. 

Here's what you do: Wash all of the strawberries that you're planning to freeze. Cover a cooking sheet with wax paper. Although wax paper isnt' necessary, it's easier at the end to get the berries off of the frozen pan. 

Cut off the stems/greens and place the berries onto the waxed paper. The pan can be placed in a freezer for a few hours. Don't worry about covering the pan. I've never covered it and my berries come out fine. 

Once the berries are completely frozen, remove the pan from the freezer.  You're now ready to bag the berries in freezer bags and store them until your belly has demolished them. This same process applies to freezing blueberries and other fruit. 


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