Sunday, July 11, 2010

To hull with it

Summer just got here to the Pacific Northwest and it already feels like it's going by at breakneck speed.  Strawberry season officially ended yesterday.  We were at our fav farm stand and asked about berries: there was 1 final shipment expected any moment.  We paid for a flat of strawberries and promised to pick them up later in the day.

About 4 hours later we returned for our bounty.

After washing half of the berries and making myself a margarita, I took them into the backyard to hull and prepare for freezing.  I was afraid the chickens would steal strawberries but they were too busy eating my cabbage in the veggie garden (grrr).

Sip.  Hull.  Sip.  Hull.

Hey.  How did that happen?

Half a flat of strawberries fills a half-sheet pan.  Notice that the pan is lined with a sil-pat.  Once frozen, the berries come right off of the pan and will go into baggies.

So.  Pretty.

Mira wants to know why I'm not paying attention to her.

We don't eat strawberries that aren't from Washington, hence the mad dash to preserve as many as we can while we can.  My mom thinks I'm crazy, especially come late winter when I'm complaining about the lack of fresh fruits and the temptation of the sweet-smelling imported strawberries from California.

I've got nearly 2 flats of strawberries in the freezer, plus almost as many raspberries.  Last year I went nuts making jams but there are so many jars left that I don't plan to make many more.  I'll do blackberry and peach jams, to be certain, but that'll be about it.  I really want to make more vanilla peach and a blackberry lime jam.

Most of my canning energy this year will go toward savory things like dill & sweet pickles, tomatoes, green beans, and ...?  I also plan to do some cobbler and pie fillings, which are awesome for quick desserts in the middle of winter.  G-man isn't keen on baked fruits, so whatever I make has to be in small quantities lest it become really expensive chicken food in January.

And, of course, I'll share all my how-to's with you.

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