They are in my fridge and on my counter and in little glass jars on the windowsill. I am pressuring my loved ones to eat them three meals a day before they “go bad” and at this point, my fingers are dyed pink from all the slicing and dicing going on around here.
Because I have a problem. A big one. I may even need an intervention.
Hello….my name is The Loonwhisperer and I am a berry-picking-a- holic.
Before last week, I was in denial. I had convinced myself that I was just a recreational berry picker who could stop any time I wanted to. And then I went to one of those pick your own places during one of THE best strawberry seasons in years and went completely out of my mind. Is there anything more wonderful than a freshly picked, ripe strawberry? As I butt-crawled my way down the row plucking berry after berry, I fantasized about all the wonderful things I’d make with my harvest. The strawberry short-cake and jam and endless supply of fresh berries for cereal and yogurt. A pie or two. My friend, Cindy, worked her way down the row next to me and we visited and giggled our way from plant to plant as we filled ice cream pails, one after the other.
A couple of hours later, we both stood, stretching the kinks out of our backs and wiping sweat off our brows and then lined up our buckets, pleased with our bad selves.
Eleven. There were eleven buckets full of strawberries between us.
Now, the thing about strawberries is that once you’ve picked the little suckers, you have, oh….about forty eight hours to make some decisions about what to do with them before they start disintegrating into mush and mold. At least this is true for the ones in season. Those chewy, half-ripe berries that grocery stores try to pass off the rest of the year as “strawberries” stick around for weeks whether you want them to or not. Real, freshly picked berries are sweet and good and have an extremely short shelf life, like summer itself.
I made my family eat strawberry shortcake for dessert again tonight. I admit that they were less than enthusiastic. We will be eating strawberry jam until next July. But at least I have stopped having nightmares about giant strawberries reproducing in the fridge while we sleep now that the jelly roll pan that was full of them inside of it is slowly emptying day by day.
This is good, because here’s the thing. By my friend’s calculations, the wild blueberries will be ripe in about two weeks. We’ve already made plans to head to the forest to do a little berry picking just as soon as they are. Because everyone knows that wild blueberry pie is just about THE BEST pie in the world. And it would be so nice to have a few fresh ones to sprinkle on cereal and yogurt, and blueberry muffins are just wonderful, and…….
I’m beyond help.