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SPELLING BEE

BY BEA WESTERBERG

It’s a liquid time of year

“I love to sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I am awake, you know?”

This is said to be Ernest Hemingway’s thoughts, but it is misattributed to him.

We might have a little bit of trouble sleeping if the weather comes at us with the degrees it did on Tuesday of last week. By the time you read this, the weather will be showing its true colors. Then we will be in the “some like it hot, some like it cold” situation. I still like my 70 degree weather and it’s okay to be a bit lower classification. That probably is sitting on the fence with that hotcold statement.

Having something to drink on these hot days becomes a major project. We do have a wide choice of liquids and each year seems to bring more on the market. One the major newcomers involves seltzers. Most of us probably knew that bottles of this were in the same place as tonic water and club soda at the grocery store. (I happen to love tonic water just by itself but that thought makes most people run to the hills). In the last few years seltzers have been popping up like dandelions in spring. White Claw might be the one most often talked about, but it is getting to the fighting stage for market shelf space for that is available.

So maybe we need some information for the next cocktail party conversation. – It’s Story Time – The Germans love their beer but seltzer is a close second. This fizzy beverage is named for the German town of “Selters”, and is located about 40 miles northwest of Frankfurt. Frankfurt is famous for its naturally carbonated mineral waters. Believe it or not, these springs were well known for over 1,000 years and by 1791, the fizzy water from the town of Selters was so popular that it was exported throughout the world in jugs stamped with the name “selters-wasser”, or “selters water”. The word changed to “seltzer” when it became popular on this side of the pond. It was a big hit around the early 19th century in New York City and Philadelphia. But the story is deeper than that. In fact, it touches most of us each and every day.

The world’s first commercial soft drink was created by a German jeweler and amateur scientist, Jacob Schweppe, in 1783. Are any bells beginning to ring? At first it was mostly sold as a health tonic, especially for upset tummies. Carbonation was a new thing to most people and became known as “lightning in a bottle”.

To this day, Germany is still one of the highest-ranked countries when it comes to bottled water consumption. They love both the fizzy and the non-fizzy! You can visit the town of Selters in Germany. It is a small city with about 8,000 people and yes indeed, you can visit the Selters Wasser Museum. They have made excellent use of a product from Mother Nature as the seltzer water market size in our country alone is said to 29.71 billion. I am assuming that would be cans or bottles but I am not sure so I will not go to court with that figure. Maybe you are having some type of this beverage as you read this article. I had some while I was writing this article!

Strawberry time is upon us and we have several local pick your own or order picked strawberry places nearby. Local strawberries are in the same class as homegrown tomatoes. The taste is sooooo much better than store purchased, long haul products. Rhubarb is still around so you can combine those 2 early gifts of late spring, early summer in so many ways. Freezing and canning will permit you to enjoy these delights in the future.

If you need some suggestions for “new” uses of strawberries, how about whipped strawberry butter; strawberry lime, cucumber and mint water; strawberry mango salsa; or strawberry pizza with chicken, sweet onions and smokey bacon for something different. Yummy, yummy!

June 22, 2022