Washing Fruit and Veggies on the Road

 

washed fruit in cooler

 

So, you’re driving along on a late-summer road trip, the farmers’ markets and road-side fruit stands are overflowing with beautiful produce, but you hesitate to buy a bunch of berries or tomatoes if you can’t figure out a way to wash them, right?  Here’s our solution.  All you need is a container (a tub that yogurt came in is perfect) and some water.  A cooler is optional. I’m not really sure why it took us so long to figure this out.  It works a lot better, and uses a lot less of our drinking water, than trying to pour water with one hand while somehow holding and scrubbing fruit with the other hand by the side of the road.  Even if you are on your way to a house or hotel where you could wash fruit, this has the advantage of letting you eat it right NOW, while you cruise along with the windows rolled down, or at your favorite picnic spot.

Put your produce in your little tub, and pour in enough water to cover it.  Swirl everything around with your fingers for a minute or so, and then hold the fruit back and pour the water off. If a lot of dirt comes off in the first round, or you just want to make sure it’s really clean, repeat.

 

tomatoes in tub of water

 

Then you can put the clean tub of fruit in your cooler, or on top of the parking brake between the seats for easy access.  If you’ve washed something like tomatoes that does better dry and room-temp than cold and wet, you can dump them out onto a towel, or use one of those little green plastic baskets to store them. If you knew how many picnic style meals we’ve eaten, consisting mainly or entirely of various versions of caprese sandwiches, you’d laugh out loud.

 

tomatoes in green basket 1

 

A couple more notes: basil does well in the cooler with the stems in the water, or in a sealed plastic bag with a little moisture inside (kind of like the cooler version of this method), but not if the leaves touch the ice (they’ll frost and turn black).  Thanks to Bryan for hand modeling, and for being as enthusiastic about fresh local edibles as I am.

 

tomatoes in green basket 2

 

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Hidden Gems from the Road

 

Jazz Fest 2011And not so hidden.  Jazz Fest is of course, amazing, and so is the food there!

 

I’ve been working on a new page, for you and for me.  It’s full of all the places (mainly restaurants) that I want to remember from our travels.  How do you persuade me to leave my comfortable and productive studio, and head out on the road for a summer tour of art shows?  Well, just remind me that when we get to Austin, we can eat at Enoteca Vespaio, they have the first and best macarons I have ever tasted.  Then once we get to St Louis there’s Shu Feng, oh the crispy eggplant . . . you get the idea.  And it pretty much works that way, every spring.  Ever since we read Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria, we have an ongoing joke about being on the walking and eating tour of wherever we happen to be, with the goal of walking enough so that we can eat some more!  The list of restaurants and fun places to visit is getting too long to keep just in my head, or on random scraps of paper and lists on my phone, so I made a page for it here.

For every place I’ve remembered, looked up, and put on the list, I thought of at least one more that I haven’t had time to post yet.  So, look for another update, hopefully soon, and I even have some pictures to put in!  But I wanted to go ahead and publish the start of the list.  My goal is to keep updating it as time goes on, and we stumble on more hidden gems of the road.  If you have some of your own to share, let me know!