One of my main goals with this project is to take full advantage of the bountiful harvest at its peak. And, I mean FUH-ULL advantage. I didn’t fall into the beginner trap that is the zucchini debacle, but I have been wittingly suckered and fallen head over heals into the berries.
Whatcom County (where we live!) is known for the berries. The season begins with succulent, intensely flavorful strawberries in early June and gives one last hoorah with bulbous, deep colored blackberries in August and September. In the middle is a ginormous harvest of raspberries – our little corner of Washington state is responsible for over 90% of the raspberries that make it onto grocery store shelves. I’m not just talking about whole berries – you’ve got to think “big picture”… Ocean Spray juice, Haagen Daaz ice cream, Philadelphia cream cheese – yep, it’s almost all coming out of here.
After two weeks spent bent over in an organic strawberry field where the u-pick price was a measly $1.00 pound, I was the proud recipient of 30-plus pounds of strawberries. Well, thirty pounds is what made it to our freezer. Another five probably ended up in fresh strawberry shortcake. And, another ten or so never really left the field – in a bucket that is. Beckett spent hours perusing the rows and snatching up one berry after another…
And, July has been filled with another set of field trips to the raspberry fields. It’s u-pick-em time again. We are at 20 pounds and counting. The season isn’t quite over and the prices drop as the supply wanes, so we’ll be making a few more trips out this week…
But, we can’t forget about blueberries. That’s also on the docket. And, just as there is no rest for the weary, the weary berry picker that is, it’ll soon be time for blackberries.
What the heck do you do with FIFTY pounds of berries?
Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries have a tendency to glom all together in the freezer bag and turn into one mass of berry mush. This block is anything but ideal for putting to any sort of use. So, the berries are pre-frozen on a cookie sheet and then placed into plastic sealable bags after a night in the deep freeze. This method ensures that they remain as intact darlings. It’s easy to pull out just what you need from the bag or to thaw the entire bag in minutes.
I am looking forward to fall canning and prepping this year’s bounty into jams and jelly. The winter and spring will be filled with berry smoothies, warm cobblers and scrumptious pies. So, the red stained hands, itchy ankles and crammed freezer are all worth it. Oh, so very worth it.