22 Dec2009

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They say when life gives you lemons, make some lemonade. Twist that around a bit and it applies to strawberries as well. :) I often hear complaints about how awful the fruit sorting capabilities are in the Philippines, with a notable lack of grading/quality differentiation. Also, lousy packaging, horrible transport conditions, and a lack of chilled cases for displaying the goods. In order words, grumbling. Much of which is technically true. But if one does a bit more analysis, you can actually find the silver lining. Let’s take strawberries for example. You can purchase unnaturally humongous Driscoll strawberries with stem (meant for dipping in chocolate) at the grocery or chi-chi fruit stalls for some PHP999-1,200 for 16 pieces. That translates to some PHP75 per piece or USD1.63! Yipes. Plus they were picked days ago and sent over by airfreight from California…

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Or you can go local, hit the FTI (Taguig) market at 6am on a Saturday morning, and buy 10 little packages of strawberries, that were picked less than 36 hours before, smushed into styrofoam boxes and transported in the middle of night to avoid overheating, and cost some PHP500 for all ten boxes. Once home, I opened up all the boxes, picked out the better berries that were deeper red in color, unblemished, less bruised, and set them aside. I ended up with the large foil tray at the forefront of the photo above. So for PHP500, or half the price of the imported ones, I got some 3x the volume of berries! I figure it cost me just 1/6th the price or less of the Californian versions. AND, I had half of the berries that were slightly bruised, kinda visually ugly, but still good for something refreshing…

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Take a bunch of the “discards” but cleaned up berries, throw them into a blender, add some cold water (as much or as little as you like), some ice cubes and a touch of sugar or simple syrup if you need added sweetness and a spritz of calamansi or dayap juice for brightness and blend this until you have a wonderful strawberry shake. Absolutely delicious, very refreshing, totally healthy and I look at it as being nearly free. :) With so much fruit in the house lately, I have been madly experimenting with strawberry-kiwi shakes, melon-citrus shakes, grape-shakes, mango-berry shakes, etc. Possibly it’s just an excuse to use these really cool glass bottles we’ve had for a while. They look a bit like empty Evian plastic bottles but are made of thin glass instead.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Hatari says:

    I’ve tried something like this, making a simple strawberry syrup and then topped up with prosecco for strawberry bellinis or soda for a natural strawberry soda. Nice

    Dec 22, 2009 | 11:30 am

     
  2. pegi says:

    My husband is just like you, MM. He doesn’t like to throw those fruits that my children don’t eat. He would always make a smoothie out of them, rather than buying those Jamba Juices or Starbucks fruit shakes. Wishing you and your fanily a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful 2010 !

    Dec 22, 2009 | 11:38 am

     
  3. rvinno says:

    I really love strawberry shake, second to mango shake though (but Mango shake differs from every establishment). Anyway, have you tried adding milk? Only a little bit though, para hindi matabunan yung strawberry taste talaga.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 12:13 pm

     
  4. Rico says:

    I was just about to notice those bottles! Are those available locally? I’d like to buy/have some.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 12:27 pm

     
  5. Lee says:

    I like the “faux plastic” glass bottles. coolness.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 12:39 pm

     
  6. betty q. says:

    Next time, try freezing them first,then add to the blender so no need for ice cubes …with simple syrupand a bit of strawberry syrup…plus a bit of milk.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 12:47 pm

     
  7. emsy says:

    smoothies with ice cream, or a banana or yogurt!

    Dec 22, 2009 | 1:26 pm

     
  8. betchay says:

    Yeah, nice glass bottles.I’m sure you bought it from abroad. :) You are right about the sorting of local strawberries.The big juicy ones are always on top and below are the inferior ones.You did the right thing by buying several packages to get the nice ones!Clever!

    Dec 22, 2009 | 2:32 pm

     
  9. isagarch says:

    I agree with bettyq, freeze the fruit, have a great blender and you get an almost creamy smoothie without dairy of ice cubes. We were in LA for 3 days and had jamba juice for … 3 days! I like sweet/sours combos like mango peach strawberry with a touch of oj. Yum.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 2:38 pm

     
  10. Lava Bien says:

    Hahahaha good job MM. I’d say we are spoiled here in Cali when it comes to strawberry specially during Farmer’s Market days from late Spring to early Fall. I just love summer in Cali.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 4:24 pm

     
  11. anonymous paul says:

    i like halving the berries then sprinkling with a few tablespoons of sugar and scraping in a vanilla bean. let them macerate for a few minutes then serve with whipped cream. (leftovers can be reduced to a syrup and served with pancakes or mixed in with milk like they do at Baguio Country Club. however i really doubt there will be any left.)

    Dec 22, 2009 | 4:32 pm

     
  12. Nicole says:

    Hi! MM,
    love having strawberry shakes too! I usually make mine with frozen strawberries, frozen banana and cold cold milk. It’s yummy and quite filling at the same time.
    I recently tried a mango/strawberry shake and it taste good!
    Question though where do you get that “faux plastic bottle”? Its adorable! I want one for christmas!

    Dec 22, 2009 | 5:12 pm

     
  13. giancarlo says:

    Hmm, Where did you get those gorgeous bottles??

    Dec 22, 2009 | 5:35 pm

     
  14. meekerz says:

    Every summer, when fruits are at their cheapest, I would blitz mangoes and strawberries and freeze them. They last a few months, so I get to have fruit shakes anytime I want :D My favorite mix: mango, strawberry and banana!

    Dec 22, 2009 | 5:42 pm

     
  15. faith says:

    I love the bottles. :) Sana may mabibili dito.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 5:44 pm

     
  16. chel says:

    just make sure that you wash them properly. An expert told me that since they touch the soil during harvest, they are very prone to bacteria.

    Dec 22, 2009 | 6:18 pm

     
  17. aji says:

    Wow! Beautiful bottles! Where’d you get them MM?

    Dec 22, 2009 | 8:12 pm

     
  18. miles says:

    i like to macerate “not so beautiful” strawberries in sugar and then use the liquid to sweeten my tea :)

    Dec 22, 2009 | 9:28 pm

     
  19. Vicky Go says:

    Those humonguous strawberries w the stems still on are usually tasteless/bland – they breed in the size & shipping fitness (hard) & in the process bred out the taste. In early summer, I prefer NJ strawberries – they may be small but they are soooo sweet. If bought at the supermarket or farmer’s market or produce stands, you have to eat them asap. They don’t take to refrigeration very well. Even you go strawberry picking you can smell them starting to ferment in the car on the way home – madaling malasing!

    Dec 22, 2009 | 11:16 pm

     
  20. Angela says:

    That’s what I do in the summer when the fruit bounty is overflowing. I clean up the “ugly” fruit, cut them up, store them in freezer vacuum bags, then stick them in the freezer. Then we have fruit ready to go for smoothies.

    Much cheaper and healthier than store-bought smoothies.

    Dec 23, 2009 | 1:28 am

     
  21. Lilibeth says:

    When in season, those Driscoll strawberries go for 99 cents/lb. and regular price is $3.99/lb. here in California.

    Dec 23, 2009 | 5:56 am

     
  22. Vanessa says:

    Neat bottles!

    Dec 23, 2009 | 6:42 am

     
  23. betty q. says:

    Oh, dear…Ok, mga Mrs…that cute bottle comes with a cute price. Can you believe each bottle costs anywhere from $33 to $38 ?!?…google them typing GLASS WATER BOTTLES. They are available at Amazon.com…Uncommongoods.com…something Perpetualkids.com?

    Dec 23, 2009 | 7:49 am

     
  24. aji says:

    My Gosh! How cute naman the price! But if I use it everyday it’ll cost me 4 pesos per day.

    Hmmm… I’m justifying the cost here like what I do with shoes. Hehehe.

    Dec 23, 2009 | 8:11 am

     
  25. kurzhaar says:

    Speaking as a (transplanted) Californian with friends in the fruit-growing industry back home…if you are going to buy one thing organically grown, it should be strawberries. They have the highest residue levels of pesticides among common produce, and that pesticide is probably a fungicide (NOT good for humans).

    Dec 23, 2009 | 8:31 am

     
  26. betty q. says:

    However….a more reasonably priced GLASS WATER BOTTLES are available at Crate and Barrel for…ta-da!…$8.95 to $16.95!!!

    So, aji: it will only cost you about less than $1 a day…sounds morereasonable, eh?

    Dec 23, 2009 | 8:38 am

     
  27. mojito drinker says:

    cool water bottles will have to check em out =)

    Dec 23, 2009 | 9:48 am

     
  28. Lee says:

    ang galing ni betty q! yup found them bottles at Crate and Barrel website…

    Dec 23, 2009 | 1:40 pm

     
  29. mardie c",) says:

    i love strawberry-banana shake or smoothie. or strawberry with whipped cream. (drooling)

    Dec 23, 2009 | 8:00 pm

     
  30. Marketman says:

    The bottles were from Crate & Barrel, not expensive if I recall correctly.

    Dec 26, 2009 | 4:02 pm

     
  31. wil-b says:

    mmm. . . the bottles look nice, and it really is tempting to make some refreshing fruit juices and shakes to use this bottles. . . hehe. . .

    Dec 28, 2009 | 10:20 am

     
  32. PinoyPride_Apparel says:

    The Driscoll costs around Php 800.00 pesos in SM Supermarket or 50 pesos per strawberry but they are ridiculously good. If you read the packaging it says that their strawberry variety is patented.

    I really really love strawberries, but since I heard how much pesticides are used to grow them in Benguet, I kinda stopped buying. Although a friend told me about a farm in Benguet who grows organic strawberries.

    By the way, have you by any chance know where to get Blueberries grown from the mountain province?

    Dec 31, 2009 | 8:45 am

     
  33. Marketman says:

    Pinoypride, they carry local blueberries fromt he Mt. Province at some weekend markets. I see them at the FTI Taguig Saturday market in December or so… In the U.S., local farmed berries are by far superior to Driscolls, that are bred to have a long shelf life and look good, but don’t necessarily win on the flavor aspect.

    Jan 1, 2010 | 7:57 am

     
  34. Edwin D. says:

    Local farmer’s markets works for me for strawberries. They are the best.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:43 am

     
  35. Tiana says:

    I just bought Driscoll Strawberries at SM last week. I have to say that the only difference between them and the ones from Baguio is the size. Driscoll strawberries are huge while the ones in Baguio are way smaller. Other than that, the taste and smell is EXACTLY THE SAME.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 3:23 pm

     
  36. eastnwest says:

    There are two types of californian strawberry marketed in the Philippines, the Longstem which is huge 12, 16, 20 pieces per clamshell, this is sweet and flavourful, the other one is regular strawberry still huge, the smallest size is bigger than any baguio which comes in 454g clamshells. The price might be crazy during the months of october till febraury, but prices is just a bit pricey during April-September. You can find cheaper US strawberries is Manila divisoria fruit market prices is almost 1/2 of what mentioned above.

    Apr 29, 2010 | 9:13 am

     
  37. eastnwest says:

    i bought a case of longstems last week, 4 clamshells in a case and it cost me around 1700-1800, so its just around 450 per clamshell if bought wholesale while the regular US is just the same price beight weighted additional 1 kilo, roughly around 4-4.5 kg per case

    Apr 29, 2010 | 9:17 am

     
 

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