Category Archives: Meals

Are you ready to go strawberry picking: tips you can't miss

Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Strawberry season is here.  Are you ready to go strawberry picking?  If you are planning to pick your own strawberries, here are a few tips that will make your trip successful.

Strawberry Picking: Plan Ahead

Before you go picking, you’ll want to do the following things:

  • Call ahead to confirm berries are ready and to determine the picking hours.
  • Plan to go early in the morning.  If you can, go as soon as they open.  The saying “The early bird gets the worm” is true for strawberry picking.  You’ll have a better selection of strawberries, since the rows won’t be picked over.
  • Wear old clothes.  You might get a strawberry stain.  It usually comes out in the wash, but just in case…

strawberries in stainless colander

What to Bring When Picking Your Own Strawberries

  • Water: You’ll be thirsty after picking.
  • Cash: Many small farms do not have credit card machines.
  • Container: Some farms will supply a quart or a flat for you to pick into.  Others may allow you to bring your own container.  If we’re picking 6-7 pounds, we’ll use a flat.  If we’re going for a quick pick of just a few pounds, we like to use our stainless steel colander.  The farm where we pick at usually weighs our container and deducts the weight, so we don’t pay extra for the heavy colander.
  • A change of shoes: I like to wear flip flops.  I can take them off right after picking, and they are easy to hose off when I get home.  Other pickers like to wear socks and sneakers.  Whatever you decide, just bring a change of shoes.  If you step on a berry, you won’t want to track it into your car.
  • Clean up supplies:  Baby wipes or wet face cloth in plastic bag.  You will want to clean your fingers after picking.

Picking Your Own Strawberries: Tips for Picking in the Field

Usually, only certain rows are open.  Try to pick a row that no one has picked in yet.  It will make picking much faster.

Since you pay by the pound, you’ll want to pick clean.  That means, do not pick the stems.  Pick the strawberry where the stem meets the berry.  Leave the whole stem behind, so only the green leaves stay on the berry.

Be sure to look in between the strawberry bushes.  Many people simple pick along the edges where you can easily see the berries.  By looking in between the leaves, you’ll find lots of berries.

It’s okay to eat a few strawberries while you are there.  After all, you want to know if the berries are sweet and tasty.  Just don’t overdo it. 🙂

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

After you Finish Picking Strawberries

You’ll want to get the strawberries home and into the refrigerator.  I like to transfer mine into a colander, so that there a few holes to allow air in. I also cover the top of the colander loosely with plastic wrap.  This keeps anything from falling into the strawberries.

Are you ready to go strawberry picking?

Lastly, it’s important to have a strawberry huller.  This handy tool allows you to easily take the leaves off the berry.  You can certainly cut this part off with a knife, but you will take off too much of the strawberry.  With a Strawberry Huller, you will only take off the leaves, and keep the rest of the strawberry to eat.

Enjoy your strawberries!  There’s nothing quite like eating strawberries that were just picked.  🙂

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Thanksgiving small floral centerpiece 2

2020 Thanksgiving Assessment

Is it really easier to cook for four people or ten people? I always thought if I had to cook for four people, I might as well cook for ten people. It really didn’t matter. Or did it? We found out this Thanksgiving.

Our 2020 Thanksgiving Assessment

We limited our 2020 Thanksgiving to our immediate household of four people. While we really missed not seeing our parents and my sister and her family, I was happy about not having to cook a full turkey. The whole process of preparing the turkey and getting it from the refrigerator to the roasting pan is a huge and messy task.

With the state and local COVID guidelines in place, we decided to play it safe and keep our celebration small. Instead of cooking our traditional 18-22 pound turkey, I bought fresh turkey drumsticks and some extra-large turkey wings. What a success!

Here’s what we also realized about hosting a smaller gathering:

  • The turkey took less time to cook in the oven. (1.5 hours vs 4 hours)
  • We used fewer pots and pans to cook our side dishes.
  • Almost everything fit in the dishwasher.
  • There was less stress because we didn’t need to have everything perfect.
  • We had a clean, but not spotless home.
  • Our family stayed safe and didn’t spread or catch any germs.

We even started decorating for Christmas in November! To be honest, it felt a bit odd to have Christmas decorations in the house before Thanksgiving. However, it made for a more enjoyable and less rushed holiday season.

While the pros may seem to outweigh the cons, there were some noticeable things we missed at Thanksgiving this year:

  • Seeing our relatives in person
  • Hearing stories from the past and reminiscing
  • Sharing traditional side dishes (Mom’s butternut squash, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie from Atkins in Amherst)

I knew I couldn’t replicate the Atkins pie, so instead I made these mini pumpkin pies. They turned out fantastic. Just the right portion size and very flavorful. Here’s what they looked like while baking in the oven:

For the full recipe, check out the pin we saved on our Pinterest page:

“>Mini Pumpkin Pies

While we were happy with our decision to stay safe and healthy, we look forward to getting back to our family tradition of hosting Thanksgiving with our entire family.

Assessing your 2020 Thanksgiving

How was your Thanksgiving? Be sure to jot down a few notes to help you plan for next year. Click here to print our free printable form: Party and Event Assessment Chart