Do the maths!

I was at the market in our County Town this morning when I saw a small crowd of people round a fruit & veg stall. They were inspecting a little tower of boxes dubiously. I sidled over, and saw a notice: whole box of strawberries – £2!

A slightly-depleted box of strawberries!

Well, irresistible! I checked with the stallholder; it really did mean a whole box, 20 good-sized punnets, for £2. “They’re going over,” he said. “You’ll need to pick your way through.” But the crowd were shaking their heads and wandering off. “Half of ’em are mouldy!” one woman huffed indignantly. Another lady & I looked at each other and laughed; the woman evidently hadn’t worked out that if half of them were no good – and it certainly wasn’t anywhere near half – you would still be getting 10 punnets for £2. Which is quite a bargain!

So I somehow managed to carry the box, mostly balanced on my head, back to my van, whilst dragging my shopping trolley behind me. My mother & I polished off most of one punnet for lunch, and I gave two more to one of my brothers, who happened to appear at an opportune moment. So 17 punnets came home with me.

What to do with 17 punnets of strawberries? I rounded up every jar I could find a lid for and made a massive pan of jam; 11 jars, 4 of them 2lb-ers. I didn’t have any preserving sugar, and strawberries are low in pectin, but I did have these:

Apples & quinces…

…which are full of the stuff. So I boiled up a pan of apples & quinces until really soft, then strained them through a muslin, then chopped the strawberries into the resulting juice and added an equal weight of sugar. Discarding the bad ones as I went, 9 punnets-worth half-filled the pan (it’s a BIG pan) which is enough as I didn’t want it to boil over.

6 punnets-worth have been sliced into my dehydrator; dried strawberries are good in muesli, or yogurt. There’s one punnet of decent berries left in the fridge, and one punnet made its way to a friend.

Altogether, from the 17 punnets I brought home, there were 2½ punnets of debris to throw out – mostly into the chicken run, as they love strawberry tops. So the best part of 14½ punnets, plus the 3 that went elsewhere, were good to use; way more then half! 11 pots of jam for £2, a bit of sugar and some energy… still seems like a good deal to me!


7 thoughts on “Do the maths!

  1. Marlene Stevens October 5, 2017 / 7:30 am

    Fantastic bargain, Some people are so silly aren’t they they want something perfect for nothing.
    I like making a bit of jam. Will see you through for a while now. I have heard several people mention dehydrators on blogs, I have been thinking perhaps I should try, but I would have to weigh up the pros and cons.

    • thriftwizard October 5, 2017 / 7:50 am

      It’s been a worthwhile investment for us, Marlene. When the kids were at school I used to make fruit “leathers” in mine, which are expensive to buy but a really tasty & healthy snack. It’s a great way of dealing with big bargains or gluts of fruit or veg, too. But it wouldn’t be much use if you don’t have storage space for the results!

  2. Angela Sims October 5, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Thanks for the lovely stawberries Angoe. Kind of you to think of me. 🙂

  3. Angela Sims October 5, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Angie even!!

    • thriftwizard October 7, 2017 / 5:49 pm

      Well, you’re very welcome! Fancy some giant pumpkin…?

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