July12014

The Art of Picking Strawberries

This spring as I crawled around the strawberry patch picking sweet red ripe fruit, I glance up to see my three year old son pull the largest white unripe berry he could find from a plant and drop it in the pan. I smiled knowing it was time to start teaching the next generation the art of strawberry picking.

Choose berries that are a bright red color. Take a moment to tip the berry up to view the tip and make sure it is red all the way around. If any white is on the berry leave it for the next picking. Any berry that has a bad spot or bugs should be picked and tossed out in the yard otherwise you may end up accidentally picking it and putting it in the pan. Pick all berries big and small to encourage plants to keep producing (plus the little berries have the best taste.)

The actual plucking of strawberries from the plants is an art form. It requires a gentle pinch on the stem of the strawberry within a quarter of an inch above the berry. If your fingernails pinch properly then a gentle tug to the stem will cause it to separate where you pinched the stem and you can gently place the berry into your pan. Handle the berry by the stem as much as possible to avoid bruising.  

Picking a gallon of berries in a gallon bucket will mean the weight of the berries on top will crush those below. Keep berries a minimum of five to six deep. Also remember to shield berries from the sun as soon as possible. Placing them in the shade or taking them into an air conditioned house to help them stay fresh.

I know I have a few years of mutilated berries ahead of me but I look forward to the day my son will eventually learn the art of berry picking that my grandmother and mother taught me.

January92014
sesamestreet:

Found this.
Loved it.
One question, though: How does one say “om nom nom” in Wookie? 

sesamestreet:

Found this.

Loved it.

One question, though: How does one say “om nom nom” in Wookie? 

(Source: greenwheelbarrow)

January82014
4PM
“When baking, follow directions; when cooking, follow your own heart.” A favorite #CookbookQuote
4PM
4PM

Winter is a hard time to garden

With snow on the ground and cold temps it’s hard to think in just a few short months I’ll be pulling weeds and planting seeds. It’s time to break out the seed catalogs and start planning for the brief planting season. Too early and there could be a killing frost, too late and you have the chance of a killing frost in fall that will kill a crop just before maturity. At least here in Northeast Iowa we sit at a zone 4 to allow us from May 15th to June 1st with fairly safe weather to get our crops in and out. Planning ahead allows some cold crops to go out sooner and I have a relative that will plant potatoes on Good Friday no matter what month Easter falls in. I have my list started and I may even try to start some of my own tomato seeds this year. I use to start seeds years ago but stopped when life got busy. Maybe it’s time to slow down a little again. If I’m going to start seeds I need to get busy because they need to be potted up 6 to 8 weeks prior to the May 15th last frost date and the cold weather crops can go out as early as May 1st so I need to see about some broccoli and cabbage plants by then to. So although I’m currently freezing my green thumb off it’s time to get busy and get ready to garden.

11AM
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