Pails of Oregon strawberries. What could be nicer? Eugeniuses, It’s time for the 16th annual Emerald Empire Kiwanis Berry Sale. These are the folks you see causing pile-ups at Valley River Center, distributing Oregon-grown strawberries like drive-through Johnny Appleseeds. The strawberries come in one form: fresh, cleaned, sliced and unsugared, and you can either buy a 30-lb. pail for $41 or a 15-lb. pail for $27. You must order by June 2, and pick up in the afternoon of June 19. Also available are 9-lb. pails of quick-frozen strawberries, marionberries and blueberries, for delivery in August. Order soon by mailing in the form on their website, or by calling 541-607-4065. I’m holding my breath that my two-dozen Seascape strawberry plants will come through for me, but if this heat destroys them, I’ll be there with you in line!
Until then, let’s work on those other strawberries; you know the ones.
California strawberry season is in full swing. It’s the time before regular strawberry season, when the stores insist on selling those huge, sour, bright red, white-crowned things. I am seduced just like you are, and I take home a package of “Crown Jewels,” thinking they look so good this year, but soon realizing “jewels” mean they are as hard and inedible as a diamond. So I sugar them down, disguise them with whipped cream, and save a few for my real California strawberry annual event: a strawberry mud mask. Try it. It celebrates spring, mud, and making the most of a subpar foundation.
Strawberry Mud Mask
Without fail, I do this mask every spring, before the strawberries start to taste good. It really does feel nice, making your skin tingle and glow pinkly. Apparently, strawberries are full not only of Vitamin C, but also salicyclic acid, which freshens the skin by removing dead cells.
Take three or four fresh berries, chop them, and then puree them in the food processor with about 2 tablespoons of a pre-prepared mud mask. I use the basic supermarket brand, but you could get fancy and make your own with rhassoul mud, yogurt, and/or honey. You just need something to bind the berries. Go for it. And let me know your recipe! You can also grind down the berries by hand, but it’s important to completely smash them, or else you will have large berry bits on your face.
Spread mud mask on your face, chest, feet, wherever you need it, and leave on for 15-20 minutes. It will dry a bit, but not completely. I advise doing this before a shower, because you will get strawberries in your hair, no matter how hard you try. Wipe off mask with a clean, warm, washcloth, and rinse in kitchen sink so bits won’t get fester in your bathroom pipes.