Sunday, March 27, 2011

Drawing Down Inventory IV: Frozen Strawberries and Raspberries


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         For several reasons, I am under pressure to get the freezer fully cleaned out a little earlier than usual. More about that later. Spring is the time of anticipation, so that can wait.

Taking stock, so to speak, of the freezer, reveals an awful lot of frozen berries (it should be spelled aweful, not awful, because what could be bad about a lot of berries?). I often make muffins with frozen berries, an item to which they are well suited; muffins are quick, and when you are cleaning out the freezer, that is perhaps the most desirable feature in a suitable application. Another is recipes that use a large quantity—with muffins, that is usually not the case.

So I made some muffins—lemon-strawberry (lemons are cheap again right now). But also some coulis, which has the virtue of letting you easily use as much as you have and will keep nicely in the refrigerator for a few weeks to garnish other items made from other freezer inventory. Hmm. There’s something wrong with this picture, but I don’t have time to puzzle it through. I’m sure, however, that it has to do with some sort of major philosophical question about the weird cycle of hoarding and disgorging, or about pareto optimality—are we making things we would not otherwise make? Thankfully, I am not an economist, so don’t feel compelled to answer that one. And can take comfort in the knowledge that any answer the economists come up with will be wrong.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Frozen Fruit Coulis

I like to use a coulis for its fruity berry flavor, not for sweetness. This does not contain much sugar. The touch of pepper gives it a subtle edge. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

4 cups whole frozen berries (I used about half raspberries and half strawberries; the raspberries dominate) 
1 ½ cups cane sugar
Juice of half a lemon (about 2 T)Frozen fruit strained
Pinch salt and white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive, preferably slope-sided, pan. Bring to a boil and cook, skimming and stirring, for about 5 minutes, breaking up the larger berries with the edge of a wooden spoon. Strain over a bowl, pressing the solids against the side of the strainer. Strain again to catch any escaped seeds (if you have a small strainer, you can do this directly into jars). Pour into jars or other containers; store in the refrigerator and use to garnish cakes, desserts,  and cold meats/composed salads.



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