Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

The ending to this cautionary canning/preserving/jam making tale is still in process. But the MORAL of the story is….

Make sure that when you freeze fruits and vegetables you clearly mark what is in the bag.


Because small beets and pitted cherries look very, very similar when frozen.

Yes they do.

Come with me children as I tell you a story that hopefully has a happy ending. Hopefully.

Remember yesterday when I told you all about the 17 POUNDS of strawberries I picked in my fresh fruit over exuberance and in the mistaken thought that I was almost out of strawberries from last year.

Well, since I had SO MANY strawberries still in the freezer I decided to make Strawberry Fruit Leather. Guys this stuff turned out so intensely amazingly good. HHBL and I ate an entire tray of the stuff last night…before dinner. So today I decided that I would branch out and make Mixed Fruit Leather using the same basic process. This post is not about that fruit leather.

Although if you want to know how I made the fruit leather the process is here: Fruit Leather.

No, my almost possible perhaps averted disaster has to deal with the fact that I decided today to also whip up a batch of Strawberry Cherry Jam. Those darn extra bags of last year’s strawberries must be taken care of. AND I am going to be picking cherries tomorrow hopefully so the cherries that I had frozen in the freezer (Captain Obvious here, of course they are in the freezer if they are FROZEN!) had to go as well.

So I pulled everything out to weigh and measure. Hmmmmmmm, the recipe calls for 1 pound of strawberries (Check!) and FOUR pounds of cherries (not so check). I could only find one pound of cherries. But no worries I thought, I will just reverse the amounts and it will just be more strawberry than cherry. As long as the sugar to pectin ratio is good then it is all good. I measured everything out and set it all out in bowls on the counter to thaw a bit and went back to getting the fruit leather started.

And then I made a mistake.

I was rummaging around in my big freezer, which after the last two days I think we can all agree needs to be reorganized, and I came across two freezer bags full of cherries that I didn’t know I had. One was clearly labeled cherries and the other was not but sure looked like cherries. So I weighed both the bags, took out the same amount of strawberries from the strawberry bowl and added the cherries to the cherry bowl. But I didn’t look at all those cherries all that closely. I just assumed….

And you know what happens when you assume.

You can sometimes do something monumentally stupid and very unappealing jam wise.

I was sort of in “fruit leather/jam making limbo for a bit with the fruit leather slurry not quite cool enough to process and the fruit for the jam still too frozen to work with so I decided to wash out all the freezer bags that had piled up in the sink.

Yes, I wash and reuse freezer bags. It just urks me to throw them out after one use. But I am thanking my ever loving stars and garters that I do because washing out the bags clued me in to something. Something bad.

I am happily washing and rinsing out the bags when I come across one that obviously held cherries if the deep red juice in the bag was any indication. It looked more dark red than I had thought it should be but I didn’t really look too close. However, I didn’t want to dump that juice into my wash water so I dumped it into the garbage disposal sink and then started to wash out the bag. And that was when I got a wiff.

Not a wiff of cherries….

A wiff of beets.

Beets? Why does the bag smell like beets? I didn’t take any of the beets out…of….the…..

Oh dear.

Well, that wasn’t REALLY what I said but I will spare you the details on my language at that moment. Let’s just say that Max retreated to his house in fear and leave it at that.

And that was why I then spent several minutes digging through the strawberry/cherry/beet/sugar mixture to try and pick out all of the small beets that will mixed all through the fruit and covered with sugar.

And I am SURE hoping that I have picked all of them out.

Because those darn things are the EXACT same color as Bing Cherries.

So when you are freezing beets and cherries this year just remember to label all the packages. And if you say to yourself that surely you will remember which is which when you want one or the other….

Come back here and read this post and remind yourself that you won’t know.

Because beets and Bing cherries are twins separated at birth in similar bags in the freezer.


  1. I'm glad someone else says, "surely I'll remember what this frozen stuff is because I'm too rushed to label it." My cautionary tale is that a two-year-old bag of frozen minnows for fish bait looks surprisingly like frozen fish caught with some of those minnows, but isn't nearly as good for dinner.

    1. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I think minnows beat beets for the freezer YUCK! comptetition.


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