As we kick off summer the first fruit that comes to mind for me are strawberries. We were always lucky to live near a pick your own strawberry stand which supplied our family with lots of this favorite fruit. I even remember when my boys were young picking strawberries for .35 cents a bucket was their summer job for several weeks. Below are some great ideas for those strawberries you might have just picked or bought a the local market.
Believe it or not there are over 103 different types of strawberries. Of course the region where you live will have the best varieties for your climate and growing conditions. Most strawberry farms offer several varieties to stretch strawberry season as long as possible. You can purchase strawberries by the quart and some growers even sell by the pound.
Once you pick or buy all the strawberries you need the fun part starts when you get home. I have listed below some of the best ways to preserve your berries along with a couple recipes to bake with this fresh fruit.
How to Freeze Strawberries
I think freezing berries whole is the quickest way to get those fresh strawberries into your freezer!
1) Rinse the berries
2) Hull the strawberries.
3) Lay them on a rimmed baking sheet such as a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen (8 hours or more).
Remove the frozen strawberries from the baking sheet and store them in a sealed container (freezer bags or freezer-safe containers) in the freezer for up to a year.
I find gallon freezer bags work best. By using freezer bags you can easily take out just what you need! Why not add a few other fruits to the bag to make smoothie kits!
JAMS and JEllIES
Another great idea to have that taste of summer long after the berries are through is to make Jam or Jelly.
Below is a link that shows the steps to take to make the perfect preserve. As you can see the number one thing is to start with fresh fruit with no bruises.
This website not only explains step by step how to make the perfect jam and jelly but also includes some great recipes
Baking with Berries
I’m sure many of you can guess one of the top strawberry desserts is Strawberry Shortcake. There are some great recipes for shortcake and this one from Taste of Home is no exception which I will include here; https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-shortcake/. A tip can be dropping or cutting these shortcakes instead of baking in a square dish.
One of my favorites is Glazed Strawberry Pie. This recipe is from a local Church Cookbook.
Glazed Strawberry Pie
- 2.5 Cups Strawberries halved
- 1 Cup Crushed strawberries
- Tablespoon Corn starch
- Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup water
- dash salt
- 1 9 inch Baked pie shell
- Combine cornstarch, sugar. water and salt in saucepan. Add crushed berries and cook over medium heat until thick, stiriing constantly. Once bubbling begins remove from stove top. Remove from heat.
- Arrange strawberry halves in baked pie shell. Pour hot mixture over berries.
- Chill about 3 hours or longer Serve with whipped Creme
- ** You can purchase a 9 inch pie crust and bake it in the oven (empty) for about 20 minutes. Placing some “pie weights” in the crust while baking prevents it from shrinking! If you would like to bake your own crust jump over to my Peach Custard Pie recipe and the pie crust recipe is included.
I bought a food dehydrator years ago and to be honest don’t use it as much as I should! A dehydrator is great to dry strawberries.
Here’s a list of steps on how to do it!
1). Use a pairing knife to remove the stem from the berries. For larger berries, cut lengthwise right through the stem end and place cut side up on the dehydrator sheet.
2). Arrange berries on your dehydrator sheets and place in the dehydrator.
3). Drying time will depend on your conditions but plan for about 24 hours.
Dried strawberries are fantastic on cereal, as a crisp snack, or as part of a trail mix blend of dried fruits and nuts. These berries keep their color when they are dehydrated without an acidic solution pre-treatment, unlike apples, pears, and many other fruits, making them beautiful all on their own.
Now that strawberry season is here or close to it I hope you can enjoy on of everyone’s favorite fruit!