Monday, March 19, 2018
Fresh Strawberries In 90 Days
In his essay titled Pepacton : A Summer Voyage, John Burroughs described his June float down a section of the East Branch of the Delaware River. Since many of my younger days were spent in a boat drifting with the current on the Susquehanna or Unadilla Rivers, it seemed that he and I enjoyed a common experience. Many times I read his words and connected them to my adventures. Two of his observations are easily recalled from memory. One involves his boat silently floating toward two young women that were wading in the shallows unaware of his approach. They needed to raise their skirts above the level of the water. Burroughs' words described his delight with what he saw.
He also described the aroma of ripe wild strawberries that drifted from the fields across the river. He went ashore and filled his pail with tasty berries. Having happened upon wild strawberries many times in my youth, the memory of the taste of a wild strawberry is easily recalled. No king has ever tasted anything better than a wild strawberry warmed by the sunlight.
A recent trip to the grocery store included a display of fresh Florida strawberries. They were perfectly shaped huge dark red berries. No blemish could be found. I was tempted to buy a container but did not when I recalled that these berries bred for shipment are nearly tasteless. The berries that we grow continue to ripen after they are picked and must be quickly eaten or processed. Their outstanding feature is flavor.
The fruit in the photo came from our freezer. We both grow our own berries and visit a pick your own business. In addition to eating freshly picked berries, we make freezer jam and freeze some sliced fruit. Frozen fresh berries are a treat and we usually eat them only on special occasions. Since this season's crop is close at hand, we now must eat this treasure on ordinary days. We must empty the freezer ahead of the arrival of the new harvest.
The freezer jam will likely last until the new is made. We recognize the truly special start to each new day that begins with our own strawberry jam spread on toast. When we were younger much of our garden harvest went into the freezer. We can no longer do all that was accomplished years ago but the frozen strawberries and jam remain.