Recipe: Saving Strawberries 🍓

We’re using the ‘recipe’ term loosely here because you’re not immediately transforming the strawberries into a dish – what we’re doing is saving these strawberries from an early death caused by the dreaded white fuzzies (which could be a noteworthy name for a rock band) so that you can use them for other recipes on the blog. See below for four, strawberry-inclusive recipes.

How long do strawberries last?

On the counter, strawberries will only last a mere day or two.

Strawberries typically last 5-7 days when kept in the refrigerator.

If storing properly in the freezer, you can expect them to about 6 months. Use an air-tight container for best results.

Why should we rinse/soak berries?

You’ve probably heard about the recent outbreak of hepatitis A linked with strawberries. Because berries are picked by hand, there are a couple main routes for this virus to travel.

1. Infection + improper hand washing. In this case, someone who has hepatitis A could have a bowel movement, not fully their wash hands, and then go out to pick your berries. Gross, we know.

2. Watering with waste water. It’s very possible that sewage-contaminated water could have been used to berry crops. Also super-gross.

Pair either one of these with the fact that blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries have many little crevices where a virus could effectively hide out and there’s a problem.

Those crevices also are a sneaky place for mold to grow.

How can I save my strawberries from mold?

Ah yes, the dreaded white fuzzies. Well, remember the saying of “a bad apple spoils the whole bunch”? Same with strawberries. If you see one with some mold growing on it, remove it so it doesn’t start to contaminate the others.

Here’s another way to save your strawberries: in a vinegar bath. Here’s what you’ll need:

Time: about 20 minutes (most of it is passive, waiting time where you can do something else)

Ingredients

1 carton of strawberries

1 part white vinegar (we used 1/2 cup)

4 parts water (we used 2 cups)

Instructions

Place strawberries in large bowl and fill it with the water and white vinegar. Berries should be submerged in the vinegar bath. Leave for about 20 minutes to soak, remember to occasionally rotate the ones floating at the top. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry with paper towels or set strawberries on top of paper towels to air dry. Use a clean container to store your berries in the fridge.

Success! You’ve saved your strawberries from an early death at the garbage or compost bin. You can use them in some of the following recipes:

Royal Coco-cacao Smoothie Bowl

Red, White, and Blueberry Tart

Amaranth for Breakfast

10TV Summer Mocktails

and many more. Enjoy!

Water Wars: Bugs & Politics

In 2017, 5.3 billion people drank water from safe sources – meaning local water sources that were readily available and free from contaminants, while 2.2 billion people were drinking from water sources that weren’t managed safely.

The following numbers are provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding water sources and accessibility:

1.4 billion people have basic services, meaning an improved water source located within a round trip of 30 minutes & 206 million people with limited services, or an improved water source requiring more than 30 minutes to collect water

435 million people taking water from unprotected wells and springs & 144 million people collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

Drinking water that is not treated properly and poor sanitation practices is associated with several diseases including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Let’s take a look at this more specifically. What’s in the water that can lead to disease?

Cholera– caused by ingesting Vibrio cholerae found in water or food items that have been contaminated by feces from a person infected with Cholera. Cholera can also result from eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea. Most of the germs that cause diarrhea are spread through drinking water or eating food contaminated with feces.

Dysentery – often caused by Shigella species (bacillary dysentery) or Entamoeba histolytica (amoebic dysentery), dysentery can be diagnosed when an individual is exposed to water and food that has been contaminated by with feces. Additionally, a person can be diagnosed with dysentery when touching human or animal feces without washing their hands in an appropriate manner.

Hepatitis A – a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver, it is caused by eating food or water contaminated with feces. Moreover, Hepatitis A can be caused by inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene.

Typhoid Fever – caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria, this is a significant health threat for children in developing nations. Although it is rare in countries with modern water quality improvement infrastructures in place, typhoid can also spread through contaminated food and water or through close contact with an infected individual.

Polio – yet another illness that can result from water and food contaminated with feces. It can also be passed through direct contact with someone who has the virus already. Untreated polio can lead to nerve injury and ultimately paralysis. Polio has largely been eradicated in the world due to modern medicine.

Global & Local

Surely safe drinking water is largely an issue in for other countries; the U.S. doesn’t have these problems, right? Wrong! 4.32 million cases of acute gastrointestinal illness occur each year due to drinking water from public drinking water systems. This number does not include the number of illnesses that arise out of private wells, recreational water, etc.

There is still a lot of research being done to understand the full extent of waterborne illness in our country. Waterborne illness symptoms look different depending on the virus or bacteria involved, including gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache), respiratory illness (coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia), wound infections, and infections involving the ears, eyes, and skin. With that said, research about water quality are of the utmost importance. Our adult bodies consist of 60% water, and we need water to survive.

Water Politics

At a certain point, there may not be enough water to sustain life on this planet. Governments and corporations have been working together and suggesting that water privatization is the best solution for this problem. Is it? Maybe. Maybe not. As more public sources of water are sold or ‘rented out’ to corporations, some are sounding alarms. Water is a precious commodity and, as a commodity, its price can fluctuate. Corporations may be able to raise prices on this essential nutrient and control who is able to obtain it. In other words, water may end up going to the highest bidder. On the this side of the debate are also those who say that water is a human right and should be universally available, not just for those at a higher income level.