Strawberries in the News!

Strawberries have been in the news recently and not in a good way! Some organic varieties are being recalled because they may be linked to a dangerous disease impacting liver health. This is a damper upon this time of the year in Illinois when strawberries are being harvested. This is the optimum season when there is a flurry of activity going on in the Keppler kitchen to prepare fresh strawberries for freezer jam to stow away for later in the year. We also like to save back some of those more ripened berries that are juicy bursts of "sweet deliciousness!" These will be served over pound cake, in a bowl of cereal or as an ice cream topping. Yum! Yes, strawberries are a big deal in this family!

Strawberry Freezer Jam!
8 Pounds and 15 Containers!

I eat strawberries all year long, but there is something about their tastiness at the end of May and into early June that is special to my palate. I used to pick strawberries with my brother when I was a kid. We competed to see how quickly we could fill a quart box and a flat of eight quarts! Then we would bring them home to stem on the picnic table while listening to the Indianapolis 500 race on the radio. We would dutifully stem several while Mom was watching from the kitchen window and then sneak a few to pop into our mouths when she stepped away! 😊

Today, we often purchase our strawberries by the pound at the neighborhood fresh produce store or at the big box stores when they pass the inspection of the missus of the family. That’s what concerned us when we heard the bad news that some batches of our precious spring commodity were being recalled. I thought... what is the world coming to that those fresh store-bought strawberries are putting some of us in harm’s way? How can anything this good be bad for us?

There are a lot of lessons that can be drawn from food. The Bible speaks often about food. (One website cited 1,207 times!) Some of Jesus' best teaching came at mealtime and around tables in both hospitable and not-so-hospitable settings. Jesus fed a crowd of 5000 on a hillside one day and later taught them that He was the Bread of Life (John 6). He chastised a well-to-do Pharisee on another occasion for not showing proper hospitality at a meal in his house. And then, the Lord commended a woman who had “crashed” that same meal and was extravagantly splashing His feet with expensive perfumed oil to show her devotion to Him (Luke 7).

Hospitality is a big deal in most cultures of the world today. We affirm our invited guests with specially prepared meals followed by good conversation. Summer cookouts can become occasions to get better acquainted with neighbors. Church fellowship halls, reserved rooms at restaurants and event centers are perfect settings for connecting with others as we celebrate weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays with family and friends. Park pavilions fill up this time of year as families gather for reunions and precious time with our out-of-town loved ones.

When the Apostle Paul taught about putting absolute trust in the Living God, he gave this reason for doing so, because God “richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment!” (1 Timothy 6:17. NLT). Most believers should find it easy to say, “Amen” to this! Our good and gracious God loves to daily provide for and pour out the richest of blessings upon His children!

It is true that sometimes I get stirred up about strawberries, but compared to matters of faith, I am trying to be gratefully ecstatic everyday about the blessings I receive from the hand of God! I hope you are growing in your gratitude, too!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

 

 

 

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