Sunday, April 22, 2007

Strawberry Picking

Slag and I made our annual strawberry picking trip. Aren't they lovely? They're just loaded with luscious strawberry essence. The berries are a lot smaller this year, but they taste better. I know because the eating started while we were washing them. Then I had an enormous celebratory bowl of berries with whipped cream. Now I'm almost too full to stay vertical. I want to lie on the couch and digest, but there are hundreds of berries left to be processed. Each berry must be individually examined to determine which category it goes into:

- Some sit out another day or two to ripen a little more.
- Some get eaten immediately.
- Some get refrigerated to be eaten over the next week and then frozen if we can't eat them all before they start getting old.
- Some get frozen immediately.

It's a very rigorous protocol and the subtle differences among the categories can be hard to master. Slag participates in the picking and washing, but he wisely leaves the classification step to me. He doesn't quite have the nuances among the categories down and puts berries in the wrong pile, which messes up everything.

(Don't worry. Slag will be in charge of the peaches when we pick those in July. I defer to him on peach categories, so it all evens out.)

It's a perfect excuse to make real pink lemonade. I just learned a few months ago that real pink lemonade is not lemonade with red food coloring in it. It's lemonade made with some kind of red berry.

It's really easy. Boil 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen) just until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is soft and loses its bright color. Strain the fruit out of the mixture and let it cool. Then add 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups of cold water.

In light of the current strawberry abundance, I used more berries than the recipe calls for in this batch, so the lemonade came out a lot pinker than normal. I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would be really good with vodka. Yum.


Blogger Em said...

The berries and the lemonade look delicious! I think you need a fifth category though...the berries that get sent to Em! :)

6:43 PM  
Blogger ian said...

OMG, you got me totally drooling with that. *slurp*

Now I want some.


10:03 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

Mmmmm strawberries. We don't get them here until mid to late june...

7:29 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

Isn't it early for strawberries? I don't know about these servant deals with them.

I had a filet mignon thing. Cried a little when I got the bill...but it was good. HOWEVER...I like grilled cheese sandwiches better. I know. Shoot me.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

I'm so envious! Wow. I love it when we get to go pick berries (but never, sigh, peaches).

In Duluth, the last of the snow has just a few weeks, the tulips and crocuses will be up (they're pushing through now).

What a difference.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

I love strawberry lemonade! We grew some strawberries in our greenhouse last summer, and it seemed like the smaller ones were sweeter. How was the lemonade with the vodka? Great idea!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Whippersnapper said...

We have raspberry bushes growing in our backyard. People keep telling us to mow them all down because they look terrible, but I love them so..

7:34 AM  
Blogger Stucco said...

What Schmoopie "forgot" to mention was how the goddamned squirrels would sneak into the greenhouse and eat all the strawberries. No good furry tailed rat thieves...

4:11 PM  
Blogger Evil Spock said...

We used to pick strawberries as a child. My father also had strawberries in the garden, and they would be munched on by box turtles. Me and my sister would always have a box turtle for a pet during the summer . . .


8:18 AM  

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