Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Local Produce - Strawberries!!!
I am a big advocate of buying local produce. Local produce is going to be more nutrient packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than any other source as the closer something is eaten to the time it was picked, the better. I know some people are big on organic, I'm not - I'm big on LOCAL.
Many people think of Michigan as cold, snowy and the former home of the auto industry. But what you might not know is that it has a big agricultural business as well. Where I live, specifically, it is known as the "Fruit Ridge". This time of year an abundance of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries are all around. Later, peaches, pears and apples begin to ripen as well.
Finley and I spent a few hours a couple weeks ago at a U-pick strawberry farm. We (and by "we" I mean she sat in her stroller while I furiously picked as many berries as fast as I could) picked over FIFTEEN pounds of strawberries to haul home. Now berries aren't something that stay ripe on your counter very long, so I knew I had to have a plan.
First, I mashed up about half of the berries and canned homemade jam. I used Ball "No-Sugar-Needed" Pectin to make sugar free jam. I boiled the jars in a hot water canner so they can stay good all year long in my pantry.
The remaining berries I washed and hulled and froze on cookie sheets. Once they were frozen, I have them stored in ziploc bags in my freezer just waiting for my morning smoothie.
What produce is in season near you? Any creative ideas to use up your abundant produce quickly?