Thursday, June 27, 2013

Strawberry Season in the Frugal Home

The expression "eat locally" is easier here is verdant Madison, Wisconsin then let's say Washington, D.C., a city I once called home.  However, while lush with vegetation during the summer months, there is no getting past the fact that strawberries have an "in-season", and when it is over, it is over until next year.

Last year I did a wonderful job of freezing fresh local fruit; sometimes twice a week I'd visit a farmers' market with the kids.  That was last year, this year our schedule is a bit demanding.  And so I found myself last Wednesday looking at the calendar.  Time was ticking on the strawberry season, and I had yet to freeze a single one.

So what do you do the morning before you leave for a 6 hour car drive north, with 2 kids, for a few days or relaxing up north?  And you have an afternoon of client meetings, followed by packing clothes and food?  You run off to the market with the children and buy 8 quarts of berries....that must be frozen that day.  Nothing like a tight deadline to stir up motivation.

And so there you are, for $24 we now have 7 quarts of local strawberries tucked away in the chest freezer.  The remaining quart was cleaned and enjoyed with meals for the following 36 hours.  The process was really quite fast.  We returned home, the kids played in the backyard while I sliced off tops, rinsed a quart at a time and put them in freezer bags.  And it was a hop to the backyard compost bin to maximize the refuse.  While a bit time pressured, I actually preferred this approach.  I have enough strawberries stored for winter.  Any we purchase now are for immediate consumption.  Time to focus on the next fruit or veggie to preserve.  One item at a time is my motto for Summer 2013.

Also, I picked up a new trick this year.  Use a brown paper bag in the freezer to hold each food item.  It is easy to locate, move around, and write on.  A friend from Prairie UU showed me this idea when she pulled out a bunch of rhubarb that needed a new home.....and is now in our freezer.  We now have a bag of rhubarb, strawberries, and asparagus.  What will I freeze next?

Author's note: my posts have been quite sporadic on Frugal Upside, but for good reason.  This summer I am finishing a book I have written related to my legal practice.  Most "free" time has been focused on that project, but as the writing comes to an end I'll have more time to write about our frugal life.  Thanks for reading, and all those comments!

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