Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Freezing strawberries and the marginalia of living...

Ostensibly this is a little post about the great deal I got on strawberries today.  Really nice ones, for about a dollar a quart.  That is not much more than what we would pay if we had to go out and pick them ourselves.

But marginalia, if you don't already know, is the stuff scribbled in the margins of books.  As a book restorer, I used to love trying to read the marginalia in the books I worked on.  Sometimes it was in a difficult hand to decipher, and frequently in Latin.  Anyway, I have a lot of figurative marginalia in my head.

It has been way too hot to pick our own anything this summer.  In fact, I may have lost my basil and thus my years' supply of pesto.  I have been pinching back the plants trying to keep it from flowering, but it is getting away from me and tastes very strong.

 Do you know about this stuff?  I have been using it for years to wash fruits and vegetables, but I only recently discovered that it is a fantastic kitchen de-greaser.  You know the gunk that collects on the inside of your range hood?  It cuts right through it.  I love it!

It is so darned hot that one of our old hens dropped dead yesterday, poor thing.  The heat index was 112 degrees yesterday.  It was very, very nasty indeed.

Strawberries are among the most heavily sprayed crops, up there with apples and grapes.  Unless you grow your own, you really ought to wash them thoroughly.

Not that it has anything to do with heat or strawberries, I don't have a big sweet-tooth.  I don't drink my coffee sweetened (although I do sometimes like my iced coffee sweet), and I can usually take or leave desserts.  I go through phases, however, and will occasionally stash a bag of gourmet jelly beans where the kids can't find them. 

 Anyway, this means that I often forego breakfast with the kids when it is something like cereal, pancakes, french toast or muffins.  My breakfast choices tend to the unusual.  Like lunch.  Or yesterday's dinner.  Case in point:  this morning I had Chicken Tamale Casserole for breakfast.

Sebastian threatens to leave the table when I eat Tuna Noodle Casserole before 9:00 a.m.

You really want to make sure that the strawberries are dry before you free, or the water will freeze on them.   I love the cloth diapers I still have, even though Gemma can't use them because of her sensitivity and chronic rashes.  I use them for Dominic's nearly daily spills, to insulate the cooler when I am making yogurt, and for many other things...

Gemma had a follow-up with her dermatologist today.  He took her off the three prescriptions she was on and now has prescribed something else, along with OTC cream to use.  And we see him again in two weeks. It is nearly an hour drive, and we see him for about five minutes.  I'll bet he drives a nice car.  The air conditioning in our van goes out if we stand still for too long, so if I have to pop into a store, say, to buy eight quarts of strawberries, I generally have Bret drive around with the kids while I shop.  He made the mistake of stopping today, and it took 10 minutes for the AC to go back on.  I can't even imagine what Hell must be like.

Cut the stem ends off, place on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid.  I froze a good four pounds of strawberries and we ate some for dessert, and I saved a quart of small ones to decorate Gemma's birthday cake with (I think I am making a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting).

Well, I did most of this post while watching A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which wasn't fantastic, but had its moments.  Anyway, it is past my bed time, and some of the marginalia I had in my head is now eluding me.  Good night!


  1. Thanks to these lovely photos, I'm really craving a strawberry-topped cake now :)

  2. Great post! Carrot cake... yum! The kids and I made peanut butter banana cookies this morning. And, it is hot! I jumped in the pool with the kids this morning, and it felt like bath water! Stay cool and enjoy all those strawberries. I would eat them frozen... one of my favorite snacks in the summer are frozen blueberries. +JMJ+

  3. I like frozen blueberries, but I like frozen grapes even better!

  4. I love strawberries, here they've all dried up and died from the heat. The heat index yesterday hit 125 just up the road at the news station. It's too hot to even go outside to play for more than a few minutes. That makes for some very cranky kids. I found that the FIT stuff left a funny aftertaste on my fruit, maybe I wasn't rinsing it enough.

  5. Ugh...the heat has been awful, hasn't it? and no end in sight.

    Yes, you do need to rinse the fruit really well, or you will have a funny, soapy kind of aftertaste...


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