I'm having a week of non-happening on the food preserving side of things. I got up early to hit the market on Wednesday before work and bought tomatoes and strawberries, planning to dry some tomatoes and puree and freeze strawberries, as well as drying one load. I did get the tomatoes I'd bought for drying done by staying up late after choir on Wednesday evening but then worked late on Thursday (till 11), Friday (till 12) and was at the garden yesterday morning and work again in the evening (for six hours rather than the planned one or two). I'm off for the next two weeks and the things I was planning on doing the last couple of days didn't happen because it was unexpectedly busy but doing the overtime to clear most of it means I can relax and enjoy my holiday at least.
What all that work also meant though, was that I forgot about the tomatoes sitting in the dehydrator. So instead of getting them into a jar on Thursday evening, they sat there until today. One batch of slightly mouldy (I was aiming for a bit more than semi-dried to marinade and put into oil) tomatoes and a lot of fruit flies.
I did eat some of the strawberries I bought on Wednesday, just as they were and in smoothies but since I also bought raspberries (yum!) not as many as I might otherwise have. Which means that they were sitting in the fridge until today as well. About half of them were salvageable so that at least was 500g that I put through the liquidiser and have freezing in ice-cube trays at the moment. Just the right amount to fill my two Tupperware ice-cube trays, too. Despite knowing that I did still have strawberries in the fridge, I got all carried away and decided to get a few more strawberries yesterday: enough for one batch of dried and so that I would have plenty for eating today and tomorrow and for my trip on Tuesday. As I went to the garden yesterday though, I just ran out quickly to the market and brought everything back and dumped it in the hall. And then, after coming home from the garden I collapsed into bed for an hour, got up and went to work. Obviously it was a lot warmer than I realised yesterday but I ended up having to throw out at least half of what I bought yesterday. Those strawberries were not just a bit soft and bruised, there were plenty that were fully covered in hairy mouldy something or other and absolutely beyond help. I had a handful of only slightly bruised ones in a smoothie this morning and managed to rescue 450g, which is also liquidised and freezing at the moment (two small novelty ice-cube trays, 5 ice-lolly moulds and a small amount for a smoothie tomorrow). You'd think after five years I would be used to the fact that if you buy stuff here during the summer, you really need to process it on the same day - it's just too hot not to.
I also bought five kilos of tomatoes yesterday (actually a bit more but she only charged me for five), planning on cooking them and freezing in small ziploc bags. Since I didn't get to that yesterday, I'm nearly scared to go and see how they have fared without having been put in the fridge. Better than the strawberries, I hope at least!
And finally, the three bunches of basil I bought. Why I didn't even think to put them into a glass of water, I'm not sure. Early mornings just aren't my thing, obviously. I wanted to make pesto to freeze in ice-cube trays. Then yesterday evening, I stopped at the supermarket on the way to work and couldn't find any pine nuts. And I forgot you can use other nuts so didn't buy anything. I'll try a small batch with what I have in the cupboard and maybe at least mince up the basil and put it in oil until tomorrow. The ice-cube trays are all in use with the strawberries anyway. So that was bad planning on my part, too.
I don't know. I just need to write myself a letter to open before attempting to start any food preserving next year I think.
And because there weren't very many people in the garden yesterday I have a bag of stuff I got from there, too. That has just been sitting there, too, without being put in the fridge like a sensible person would have done. One lettuce (mad-looking as it was starting to bolt and so it's really elongated), a few chard leaves (I was supposed to add them to my smoothie but forgot), some of the carrots I thinned out yesterday (that seems to be my job this year although it was far more difficult yesterday than it was five weeks ago) and a ridiculous amount of cucumber. For those new to my blog, I hate cucumber and think it's one of the foulest tasting foodstuffs there is. But they have a serious glut and so I offered to take some and make some pickles. Can't even do that today though because all but two of my half-litre jars are already in use and they made a point of asking me not to use large jars. Sigh. Bad planning all round and really, I should be spending today tackling the Table of Doom once and for all, sorting out what I'm taking to France with me and packing. I do have tomorrow as well, but I have several appointments and won't be at home too much.
So, yeah, that's how not to do it. Such a monumental waste of food, all as a result of just not engaging my brain properly first.