Yesterday started off like every other day by thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish and in what order. Both my husband and I had big lists and were starting to work on them when the day changed quickly. The dentist office called and had a cancellation for my son-did I want it? Keep in mind it takes months to get into the dentist and he had an appointment set for the end of August (I had called in March) so I said yes and just like that we were heading to Carrington. While we were there, my husband called someone about an ad for a 20 cubic foot deep freezer. I have two plus our two fridges and I’m out of room. That’s bad considering I’m just now freezing strawberries and haven’t even started with the raspberries. I needed another freezer STAT. He found one in Rugby, about an hour and a half from us, so while we were driving home, he got the Blazer and trailer hooked up. I ran in the house, hung out the clothes, made some sandwiches and fruit, and off we went! It’s a nice freezer and will be full by the end of summer. I love buying used; we have 3 large freezers and only paid $400 total-the average cost of a new 20 cubic is over $1000. What the heck are in those freezers you ask? One is ours for the beef and chickens plus things we eat such as ice cream, breads, etc. The second one is for flash freezing and for fair prep and the third is where the fruits/veggies go after they’ve been flash frozen and sealed. That one is the biggest and has the most product in it. Back to the day! When we got home, I finished what I started in the morning-making rhubarb slush. If you’ve never had it, well, you need to stop by my place for some. I’ll share the recipe but will tell you it’s not exact-I make it to taste and texture, so it’s never the same twice. Plus I substitute ingredients based on what I have-nonetheless, I’ll post it at the end. It’s great with a clear soda or other, shall we say stronger, liquids which are also clear and like to be called “Captain”. While I did that, my son started tipping the strawberries we have been picking; normally we tip the same day we pick, but with the fair, we just threw them in the fridge for later. Yesterday was later and it is a little overwhelming to see eighteen clams of berries in front of you. I went out to the garden to pick more (he groaned) while he tipped. Then his dad came in and together they tipped. When I got done picking six more clams, I helped tip, too. We stopped to eat supper and then I washed all of them, laid them on a jelly roll pan, and put them in the freezer. This morning we’ll heat seal them and will make jam in the dead of winter. I saved some to make a trifle for today’s annual firemen’s picnic. Dan is a volunteer fireman for the big city of Cathay…all that means is he is under the age of 70, can drive the truck and heave the hose. Yes, the population of Cathay is rapidly growing too old to be volunteers and need ‘young men’ like Dan to help out. We ended the night by making a strawberry shake with our strawberries, half and half, and ice cream. They were divine. We sat outside and enjoyed the night on the porch-perfect country living. Ok, here’s the recipe-I’m sure there are a million more on pintrest or the internet.
Combine 16 c chopped rhubarb and six cups sugar in a large aluminum pot and let sit for six hours or overnight (be sure you stir in several times). Cook at a low boil for twenty minutes or until soft and falling apart. Use a fruit sieve and push the liquid through; a rue should remain and I set that aside to use in shakes, etc. Don’t throw it-it has sugar in it and is a thick rhubarb sauce! Pour the juice back into the pot and add 1 c OJ and a 3 oz pkg of strawberry jello. Stir and bring to a low boil; turn off and pour into a large 8 c measuring glass. Pour into an ice cream pail and fill the glass again; it should only make another 4-6 cups. At this point you can fill it to 8 c with cold water or orange juice. Sprinkle a package of strawberry Kool-Aid mix in it and stir. Let cool on the counter for an hour, then the fridge overnight, and then to the freezer. When frozen, scoop some out and add sprite, 7-up, etc or another clear liquid…you get the drift. Enjoy!