One of my goals for this year is to extend our local eating for as long into the winter as we can. I’ve done this hear and there in the past, putting up jams and relishes and freezing pestos and sauces, but this year I want a more comprehensive effort. As fruits and vegetables hit their peak, the kids and I will be gathering them, making some for the family to eat now and processing the rest to be stored for the winter months. First up: strawberries.
After picking strawberries last weekend, I quickly set about to use all the berries we brought home. When you pick as much as I did (somewhere between 10-12 lbs of berries … mmmm!), you have to do something with them quickly so that they don’t go to waste.
I immediately started work on jam for the winter (and a little for the summer too), which is a two-day process for my favorite canned version. About 12 cups of strawberries went into jam making using two recipes — four half-pints of my favorite fresh strawberry jam recipe and about a cup of fresh strawberry jam using a Cooking Light recipe. The Cooking Light recipe cooked way faster than it was supposed to, so that came out much thicker than I anticipated. But it’s still very tasty.
Next came some strawberry sauce, which we’ve been eating on pancakes and waffles all week. In fact, the picture above is the kids eating waffles with strawberry sauce on the front porch. Mmm.
Finally, I froze about eight cups of berries for the winter months. Locally grown strawberries taste so much better than the ones you buy in the store, so freezing local berries means that we can have fantastic tasting berries all year wrong … and not settle for what’s available. At first blush, I questioned whether this would be enough berries to last through the winter — and truth be told, I am still playing with the idea of picking some more — but I realized that we will also be storing peaches, apples, raspberries, blueberries and more (if all goes according to plan!), so we will have a big variety to eat from and don’t necessarily need tons of one type of fruit.
What do you think? Would you store more than eight cups of strawberries, given the opportunity?
How to Freeze Fresh Strawberries
1. Wash and hull the strawberries.
2. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, making sure that the waxy side is facing up. Place the strawberries hulled side down on the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure that the berries don’t touch.
3. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let freeze overnight. Transfer frozen berries to a resealable plastic bag and return to the freezer for storage. Make sure to label the bag with the date and contents.
Recipes for Fresh Strawberries
- Strawberries and Cream Whole Wheat Crepes at Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Whipped Strawberry Cream at Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Strawberry Kiwi Fool at Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Strawberry Sauce at Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries at Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette at FitSugar
- Fresh Strawberry and Ricotta Tart at Serious Eats
- Joan Ohm’s Fresh Strawberry Pie at Culinate
- Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Centers at Coconut & Lime
- Fresh Strawberry Scones at The Way the Cookie Crumbles
- Fresh Strawberry Tartlets at The Providence Journal