Posted on

Planning For Gray

Imagine yourself sitting inside this winter, watching the rain drops race one another down the windowpane. The constant drizzle and gray days have come and you now wonder if you’ll remember what the sun looks like or if you’ll ever see it again. The thought of roasting another root vegetable is too much to bare. You dream of drinking cold lemonade on bright green grass, where a sudden shock of cold spray from the sprinkler refreshes and quenches under the heat of the sun. For some reason, the drizzly rain of our winter is nothing like the welcome sprinkler in the summer.

I want you to really think about your future self, sluggishly meandering through those long gray months, when you long for a taste of summer – one of the tastes that we presently have in abundance.

The saying is true: “Live in the moment.” Eat raspberries right off the vine. Bite into a peach so juicy you are forced to eat it over the sink. Pluck peas off the vine. Eat a tomato that has fully ripened on the plant with just a whisper of salt. These are the summer moments you will cling to when the sun fades. Preserve these moments. Soak up as much of our northwest sun as you possibly can. Eat a sweet, juicy apricot now and freeze the rest in order to attain a taste of summer in the winter. Stock up on this bounty, then can it, jam it, pickle it, or freeze it. Your future self will thank you.

Recently, I spotted a 20-pound box of apricots. I had to have it. My husband, ever the realist, pointed out that this is a very busy week and we are leaving on vacation next week. Would I have the time to deal with 20 pounds of fruit? Valid question. But these are apricots – fresh, sweet, local apricots. They might not be around by the time we return from our week-long trip. In my mind there was no option.

I immediately set out to work and a mere two days, pounds of jam, bags of frozen fruit, and three tarts later, I paraded an empty box in front of him.

With a freezer full of rhubarb, strawberries, apricots, and jam I anticipate the cold, gray mornings! I’ll be there, hot coffee in hand, with a slice of butter wheat toast slathered with apricot jam.

by Ashley Rodriguez

Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at