Simply in Season

News and reflections on all that's good about local food
from the co-author of Simply in Season,
a World Community Cookbook in the spirit of More-with-Less

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Floods, Splendid Table, and freezer-burned berries

Happy new year from a soggy Willamette Valley! We’re grateful the flooding here wasn’t any worse. The front page of this morning’s paper has a photo from one of our favorite local organic farms, Gathering Together, which had water going through a greenhouse and submerged fields, but seems to have escaped major damage.

“On the bright side, he figures the flooding probably did him a favor by eliminating some of the pests, such as moles, voles and gophers.”

The Simply in Season recipe of the week, Apple Carrot Salad, is a good excuse to link to an ode to apples -- and other fresh, local food -- by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of “The Splendid Table” from American Public Media.

Picked right off a tree during a trip to Italy, the apple’s “lushness could have had angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus," Lynne says. "And I've had more than my share of food so good I've grinned for days, but nothing like this. This was like being plugged into the universe.”

If this sounds like the rhapsodizing of an elitist gourmand, read on. While taste is part of the equation, Lynne continues:

“My apple moment reshuffled years of attempting to piece together why Italy is what it is and how food plays in its identities. I am not talking gourmet moments, I am talking about connection. Where thousands of years of agriculture is the bedrock of a country, food is the connector and the identifier. It has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with values.”


Back to this later, but for now just a couple of notes:

I’m looking forward to presenting a workshop on local food at the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show in Eugene, Ore., Jan. 28-29. Details to come soon.

Also, a recent discovery:

This is the time of year when those fortunate enough to have them are using frozen berries and fruits out of the freezer. Our strawberry patch did well this year, and a couple of gallons of berries went into the freezer. We like them plain, half-melted, as a side dish, or of course they're great with cereal, yogurt, or ice cream. Chilled Berry Sauce, Sherbet, or Fruit Smoothie are all delicious year-round options, too (pages 319-321).

But recently I found a bag that had been punctured, leaving the thawed strawberries tasting “freezer-y.” Good for nothing but compost?

Not true. Turns out that if you mash them up, those berries taste great in the beautifully moist Strawberry Bread (page 34).


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