Weekend Diversion: The Best Secret of Oregon's Summer

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." -Groucho Marx

Now that the solstice is behind us and summer is officially here (for most of us), it's time to start enjoying the greatest fruits of the season. With the technical difficulties of the great scienceblogs migration (hopefully) behind us, I think I've discovered how to successfully bring a weekly song back to my weekend posts, too! Have a listen to Aimee Mann as she sings one of my favorites of hers,

Little Bombs.

Out where I live, in Oregon, now is the season that one of my favorite fruits of the year come in: strawberries!

Image credit: Portland Pollyanna.

Bright red, sweet, good for you, and full of vitamins, strawberries are one of my favorite fruits. When they're in season, you have to seriously try to not run into them. But here in Oregon, there's a very special variety of them that only bears fruit for about 3 weeks (starting in June) out of the whole year.

Hood Strawberries

Image credit: Jennyfer of http://teachinginthecouv.blogspot.com/.

I refer, of course, to Oregon's best-kept secret: Hood Strawberries! Dark red, super sweet and insanely perishable (you're lucky if they'll last 48 hours after picking), Hood Strawberries are, as far as I know, only available here in Oregon, grown in soil on the west side of the Cascades.

Hood Strawberries in season

Image credit: flickr user cookoorikoo.

With their characteristic "bump-on-the-top" and their unmistakeable flavor, this is one of the best kept secrets of Oregon in June, and I'm letting it out right now. Why? Because some secrets are too good to keep, and this is one thing everyone should get a taste of before they die.

And for those of you who can't stand only having them 2-3 weeks out of the year?

Jam by Lola Nova

Image credit: Lola Nova.

Make jam. Hood Strawberries make amazing jam, and require -- unlike practically every other fruit -- barely any added sugar to get an absolutely delicious jam out. Whatever your regions secrets are, whatever summer surprises your part of the world holds, be sure and enjoy it to the fullest.

And a great start-of-the-new-season to you all!

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"...to get the jam out."???

I thought the sugar was needed to make the pectin set.

By Rosie Redfield (not verified) on 24 Jun 2012 #permalink

Rosie, it is, but using the minimal amount you need to make the chemical reaction work, rather than the standard 1.6:1 ratio, is my favorite way to make jam out of these guys.

Is that wax in the jam jars? I was always annoyed by that step of making preserves. I learned a completely obvious technique from my mother-in-law that dumbfounded me at it's simplicity. After you seal the jars and remove them from the boiling water, simply turn the jars upside down so that the air bubble can not reach the seal. It works brilliantly and makes preserving so much more enjoyable.

Thank you for your very enlightening weblog.

By Joe Bushi (not verified) on 24 Jun 2012 #permalink

May I suggest, rather than jam, that you preserve the flavor with sorbet. I find that the jam becomes somewhat dull, not really capturing the fresh flavor - after all - you have to cook it.
BUT - sorbet - THAT retains the flavor for many months. It is easy - juice, simple syrup mixed to a certain specific gravity (which I have forgotten, but will be found with a google search), and a bit of vodka. (this to keep the crystals small and to prevent it becoming a strawberry ice cube as opposed to smooth sorbet). Peaches, blueberries were also spectacularly successful in terms of preserving that mid summer flavor.

By Phil Shaffer (not verified) on 24 Jun 2012 #permalink

It's strawberry time on Cape Cod. Roadside stands are full in the morning and empty by the afternoon. Can't get enough!