Thursday, July 31, 2008

Melons in - Blueberries out

Every week, so many of you have been visiting the market and all it has to offer. This Saturday looks like another great, and possibly a very hot day. We're lucky that it's always cool in the vendors' barn.

Briar Island will be at the market on Saturday with their blueberries. But that may be the last of the sweet, delicious fruit until next year. Tips below for freezing them.

August 3rd is National Watermelon Day and we are celebrating it at the market. Many vendors will be selling watermelons, while some will be giving you samples to enjoy - including Chef Tim Witcher. He will be preparing Fresh Watermelon and Mozzarella Salad for you to sample.

Watermelons.....did you know?

*They are more than 90% water.
*They are part of the gourd family.
*In ancient times, travelers used
them as a source of transportable water
*Their seeds (like pumpkin seeds)
can be roasted and eaten.
*Some people use the rind for making
preserves, pickles or relish.

*That makes the whole watermelon edible!

Tips for freezing Blueberries

High in antioxidents, blueberries are considered a super fruit. In order to reap the health benefits of these tasty little berries all year, while taking advantage of seasonal prices, freezing is an easy way to preserve them.
1. Rinse berries in collander and remove any stems, stray leaves or wildlife.
2. Pat dry and arrange berries in a single layer on baking sheet that will fit flat in a freezer. (I suggest placing a clean, dry dish towel on bottom of tray so berries won't stick.
3. Place tray flat in freezer, so berries don't roll or touch one another. You may stack trays, as long as there's enough space for cold air to move through. Wait about 4 hours, to be sure all berries are frozen through.
4. Once berries are frozen solid, choose containers to keep them in . Many people prefer plastic freezer bags, but I like glass.
***If you use bags, you can use a straw to suck out excess air beore completely sealing, to help prevent freezer burn.
***If you use glass, do not attempt to thaw contents by placing containers in hot water. It may break and harm you.

Blueberries are small and they thaw quickly, so for most recipes, there is no need to thaw them before use. Because they were frozen before placing in larger containers, any berries that are stuck together should be very easy to nudge apart. I usually just shake the jar gently before opening.

Enjoy the watermelons (and blueberries) this weekend. Hope to see you at the market!

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