Monday, January 28, 2013

Strawberry Snacks Forever

Last week, strawberries were on sale at my local grocery store.  For me, there is nothing quite like a beautiful bowl of berries in the middle of January.  It's such a refreshing taste of springtime; the invincible spring within me, found in the midst of winter, is made of strawberries.  Growing up in Calgary in the eighties, fresh strawberries were rare and expensive, and so we never had them.  The most I had in the berry department would have been the frozen-in-light-syrup kind spooned over an angel food cake with whipped cream, or a strawberry shortcake.  

What kinds of fruit did you have for snacks when you were growing up?  In our house, we had apples and bananas, with Mandarin oranges at Christmastime, and that - other than canned fruit - was pretty much it.  Suffice it to say I feel my children are very lucky to have, always, a plethora of fresh fruit to choose from.  I am lucky too, since I love fruit. 

But strawberries!  My children love strawberries; between the three of us we could polish off two pounds a day easily, and maybe more.  Just think of all the vitamin C!  My immune system perked up just thinking of it.

However, occasionally moderation must prevail, and so I restricted our immediate intake to one bowl each and prepared the remainder for school snacks.  For those of us pressed for time during the week - and that is all of us, I suspect - having ready-to-go food items is a must.  The single most important rule of lunch making is advance preparation, as Janet said.  It's so much easier to just toss a handful of already washed and sliced strawberries into a container than it is to wash and slice those strawberries on a day-to-day basis.  The total amount of time might be the same, but there is something overwhelming about the idea that oh, sigh, I need to wash and slice ten strawberries, then do it again tomorrow.  The human brain works in mysterious ways. 

I spent some time Sunday afternoon baking a deliciously aromatic cinnamon loaf and preparing the strawberries for rapid snack-packing.  It took an hour, total, including baking time, and the children's snacks were ready to go for the week.


  1. When I was a kid, we ate apples that we stored in our root cellar all winter long. There was no end to the apples. Someday I might tell you all about the pervy, pedi- apple man who delivered them. We also ate oranges in winter and the odd banana. Berries were only ever eaten in season. At Christmas, if we were lucky there was a clementine in our stockings. I married a Westerner (and lived out west for a decade). I found it interesting, yet logical, that Mandarin oranges were more common in the West and clementines more common in Ontario and the East, Spain and China being where they are.

    For M's lunch, I send apple slices, quartered oranges, the odd kiwi, and occasionally fresh berries. I am more likely, however, to serve her frozen berries at home that I set store by the preceding summer. My husband eats a banana every day but M's never taken to them. We're lucky if she'll eat one a month, and forget about banana bread and muffins. She'll have none of 'em.

  2. I was going to tell the "clementines vs. Mandarins" story but Sue got there first. :D

    We had apples, and bananas, plus clementines at Christmas. One precious crate, with the contents carefully rationed out.

    My kids eat a lot of bananas - 7yo especially LOVES them. Apples are 5yo's favourite. 1yo is especially partial to blueberries.

    This week we bought apples, bananas, clementines (the second Moroccan season! praise be!) - plus water-packed canned peaches for later in the week when the locusts have had their way with the fresh stuff.

    I also always have a 5lb box of frozen wild NS blueberries on the go, for baking into muffins, breads, etc. Or, I'll mix them with plain yoghurt and a little maple syrup or honey - the berries defrost by lunchtime and ta da! blueberry yoghurt.

  3. I love the IDEA of strawberries in January but I never get the good ones. I always get the mouldy ones, or the mushy ones, or the ones that taste like styrofoam, so it ain't much of a deal. I have bad fruit-choosing juju I guess.
    My younger child will eat any fruit under the sun except blueberries. My older child will only eat apples, green grapes if they're not too sour, and strawberries but only in the summer..he remembers every mouldy, mushy, styrofoamy off-season one.

  4. Hey! We had strawberries on sale here on the weekend too. I bought two containers but the kids ate them before the weekend was over. Alas.

    Growing up we mostly had bananas, apples and canned fruit during the winter. Clementines at Christmas.

    Here our wintertime staples are bananas, apples, pears, mangos, grapes and berries, when they are on sale. I also freeze Ontario strawberries in June to use in smoothies during the winter. And we preserved our own peaches in jars at the end of August because they taste better then the ones you buy in a can.

  5. We always had fruit around the house growing up although it was mostly apples and bananas. It was still a stark contrast to kids who would come over to visit and eat every piece of fruit in the house because fruit was only a TREAT food for them.

    We're big fans of frozen berries, which my kids like eating frozen as a snack, the weirdies. They don't pack well for lunch, unless your kids LIKE being dyed blue.