Today my host family's neighbor brought over a large bucket of strawberries. What a treat! In a funny way, it was a secret gift from my indulgent Father. I had been craving strawberries the last few days, and had prayed for contentment, since there are so many other wonderful foods here to enjoy and I figured strawberry season was long gone. And then the neighbor showed up with all those beautiful homegrown berries. I couldn't help but be awed by His gracious indulgence!
After enjoying a good number of strawberries, the rest were set aside to make jam (which they mostly stir into hot water to make "tea"). I got to help my 14 year old host sister Maryam to clean and stem them; tomorrow, her mother will make the jam.
In true Central Asian fashion, we sat on the floor. Between us sat 5 bowls; two very large ones for the berries before and after, two smaller bowls filled with water for each of us to wash the strawberries, and one for the stems. We would quickly take a berry, pull the stem off with our fingers, dunk the strawberry in water, and place it in the "finished" bowl. And yes, a few did make it into our mouths! We also had to watch for creepy crawlies, since they came straight from the garden.
I grabbed a (blurry) picture partway through the process. I stemmed over 500 berries, and I was the slow one! Looking forward to the jam...