Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fruits to Roots

Not sure where 2008 has gone so far, but several months ago we went from roots to fruits. Now we are heading back to the roots, and enjoying the end of season earth candy. As I write, my niece and I are sharing a mixed medley of blueberries, raspberries and boysenberries. The fruits of summer versus the roots of winter even share the same physical nuances. Carrots are hearty, crisp, non-bruising, and last for a week or two in the fridge.

Peaches and raspberries explode with the flavor of the summer sun and thunder storms; easily crushed, brightly colored but delicate like light searing through a thick of maple leaves. The coolness of early morning in July, captured at noon in a strawberry and a bowl of frozen grapes.

The COOLEST things I learned about fruits this summer:

That I can buy the whole flat of strawberries and not make myself silly about eating them all before they spoil.

That I can freeze grapes and use them as a juice replacement in smoothies.

Keep fresh summer fruits available all winter by freezing them raw. Unlike most vegetables you have to cook or blanch them before freezing. I put my washed and stemmed berries and peaches in yogurt containers and save them for winter smoothies. (I slice the peaches. On-line recipes say to blanch and skin them, but I don't understand why that's necessary. It might be an aesthetic thing? I have not found it to matter).

What I like best is that not only do I save piles of cash by freezing my own; I know where they came from, who grew them, and I know for sure they were grown organically and sustainably. Oh, and a lower carbon foot print when you factor the reduced transportation and packaging. If space is an issue in your freezer use zipper-freezer bags and lie them flat on top of each other.