Berry Delicious and Puppy Love

Local strawberries are hard to find around these parts now, but 2 weeks ago we drove to the country side and made an emergency stop at one of the U-PICK farms. We filled our faces full of these little sweet treasures. For most of the year we live on semi-tasteless California grown berries, but it is a true delicacy to savour the real thing for a few weeks every summer.

A colleague at work sent me one of those crazy email forwards that was actually worth trying . In fact it is quite brilliant!

The key to preventing moldy berries…

Berries are delicious, but they’re also delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market. There’s nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides. Well, with fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, we can tell you that how to keep them fresh! Here’s a tip I’m sharing on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place:

Wash them with vinegar.

When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can’t taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they’ll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

So many times I have picked up berries at the market only to have them turn bad within a day. This trick actually seemed to extend the life of these precious berries that we brought home, over-ripe from the hot sun as well as berries I picked up at the store.

Maddie ( almost 3) was a bit of a bull in a china shop and we had to constantly make sure she was not stomping over the precious strawberry plans. She liked to pick the very dark red ones the best. Exactly the type that needed this fancy preservation treatment.

I swear it really WAS brilliant. ( I said that already, right?!)

Over the next week we indulged in fresh smooshed strawberries over breakfast cereal, topped with Plain Greek Yogurt ( add a little vanilla and agave nectar if you need it sweeter)

It’s the best breakfast you can eat. Slow cook your oatmeal over low heat ( rice method) –meaning do not stir it into a gloopy mess–and add some chopped apples and cinnamon to the mix.

Try it with any berries or fruit compote all year round. I love to throw in frozen blueberries or raspberries–as they hit the hot cereal, they are perfectly thawed enough to enjoy.

…but I digress. The reason we actually packed up the car and drove 2 hours was to meet up with our soon to be puppy….henceforth known as Gertie the Golden Doodle. I think I must have had amnesia around puppy hood but let’s just say that she prefers human flesh to teethe on, over shoes and furniture. We are working on eradicating that at the moment. I also have a shower curtain over my area rug. Oh joy.

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PET PEEVE- stinky dishcloths!

There have been times in the recent past while grabbing for the dishcloth I was horrified to find that I was wiping the counter with something akin to a”stinky butt work sock”. Hoping to always avoid this unpleasantness I have employed these techniques:

  • washing the cloth daily (er, maybe every other day)
  • bleaching the cloth regularly ( bad and toxic!)
  • always making sure it is rinsed in HOT HOT WATER and spread to dry completely
  • I have adopted the cotton, granny knitted versions. (I don’t like to depend on disposable cloths, since I try to cut down waste and I indulge in paper towels for really nasty messes like pig’s blood seeping out meat trays, for instance.)

I admit, I have an “uber sensitive” nose, but I am certain I am not the only one who is assaulted by the  stench but curiously I end up being the only one who seems to do anything about it. (strike up the tiny violins)

Here is my ONE NO FAIL trick between washes and can be done several times a day…

NUKE the HECK OUT OF IT!

and IF IT DOES FAIL, throw the cloth out. Just send it packing to a landfill site somewhere near you.

I take the thoroughly rinsed cloth and soak it with water–then place in the microwave for min 5 min. I might even add more water and have another go at it.

When I remove the cloth–all the cooties are gone. Dead! …and it makes it very easy to wipe down the interior of the microwave at the same time with the steamy hot mess.

Sometimes I add some white vinegar to the whole process, and it makes the microwave even easier to wipe up.

In fact this works so well, that I can wear the cloth on my face!

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I would love to hear some of your KITCHEN TIPS. Send them along. I promise I will try them every legitimate one out ( thought I should give myself some kind of out–just in case there is a tip on how to make pigeon testicles palatable)