For many new gardeners or foodies, the idea of harvest or stocking up seems like a fall-festival–type of activity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Harvest is happening all the time! And to be truly prepared for winter (which is, thankfully, months and months away), now is the time to start stocking up.
Today I froze some strawberries. The so-tiny ones that are locally, organically grown and so very tasty are only available for a few weeks during the early summer (it’s still technically spring!). At the farmer’s market I bought three pints (and a half pint that I split with a friend). One and a half pints just got downed tonight with a bit of sugar and cream. Yes, real cream. Organic cream! At first the kids thought it was gross—until they tried it and then they fought over it.
But the other two pints got cleaned, the green tops trimmed off, and the berries placed on a cookie tray. Then I popped them in the freezer. By the evening, they were frozen and I put them into baggies for later use. My kids like to eat them like little frozen Popsicle treats. But they are good for smoothies, too. My two little baggies of strawberries won’t last long, but every time I use them or give them to my kids it will feel like late June (crickets chirping, frogs burping), even when the days are dark and cold (boo, hiss!). And if there are more next week at the farmer’s market, I’ll do it again.
But it’s not just strawberries. I already have rhubarb in the freezer. And soon the sour cherries and blueberries are due. Also, the basil is looking really good, so I’ll have to make lots and lots of pesto. Last year I waited too long and I didn’t freeze any pesto, and we regretted it all winter long.
Sure, it seems like a lot of work when you are standing at the sink cleaning and cutting. But it’s local, organic, and packed with love and happy memories, and that’s the best nourishment of all.