Thursday, July 23, 2009

If life gives you berries make frozen yoghurt?

Tara and I took the boys berry picking today. It was hot (again) and we wanted to pick organic berries so we ended up at some farm out by Monroe that did not have the typical U-pick ambience. It was strange. We followed directions to the farm and ended up at what looked like a home remodel that had stalled at the sheetrock and plastic wrap stage. The family was living in a mobile home at the end of a nice concrete drive. At the side of the drive three little girls in swimsuits sat under a pool umbrella on a cement slab and a tree, shrieking with starlings, was the only shade for miles around.

I sent Tara to inquire.

Indeed, the man said, the raspberries are in the field so we loaded up with carboard flats and headed to the rows. The vines were very large and despite some trampling from other pickers it was still a bit of work to get down the rows. Canes had fallen over and tangled the path and it was not quick picking because many of the berries, though large and beautiful, were firm and unsweet. We felt they might be not quite ripe.

Wren screamed and cried for the half hour or so we took to pick a half flat. He hated the "sticks" that made it hard to walk. He wanted to go home, to the car, out of the jungle, to be carried. And he cried. Frost and Alex were also a bit weary of the picking although Alex actually DID some picking which is more than I can say for my kids.

On the way home from the desolate hot underripe fields we stopped at a sweet diner and had huge milkshakes and pie. Wren fell asleep in the car on the way home, transferred to his crib and took a 3 HOUR NAP. I slept for an hour too.

I have sampled the berries again and found that they are no sweeter. Tara says that someone took a berry from her box in the kitchen and she saw it discarded in the sink.

I have decided to make a little jam and to make the rest into raspberry frozen yoghurt or raspberry icecream, or perhaps both.

Now I am going to drink bedtime tea.


happymom said...

The berries I got from the store did not seem as sweet this year either. Maybe it is the heat? (That does not make any sense.) My recommendation - make jam. Unripe berries are recommended, and it takes lots of sugar.

Shannon said...

I have decided to make jam as you suggest. I have a book out the library which has a softer recipe for raspberry jam. I like it juicy!

I am still going to try the frozen yoghurt. I like plain frozen yoghurt and the idea of straining and blending and them turning on the icecream machine is a kind of alchemy that appeals to me.

The thing is, these berries LOOK FABULOUS. They are large, firm, not squishy. Usually, when someone like Martha Stewart says "use whole and perfect raspberries in your flan" I laugh. I mean, I never see this kind if raspberry. They are always soft. But with these you could make sculptures, glue them on hats, build a pyramid on your pie. They are STRUCTURAL raspberries.