July 8th, 2008
I almost missed strawberry-picking season this year. I am glad I didn’t because the strawberries this year are amazing. Packed full of natural sugars and kissed by the sun, fresh strawberries are incomparable to anything in the store or freezer section. I really believe you haven’t tasted strawberries until you’ve picked one at it’s peak.
Enough of my love for these little heart shaped lovelies, let’s eat them! We only got seven pounds at Koch Farms in Tualatin, since we are right at the tail-end of the season. My plans for the strawberries are many and varied. The majority of them need to be frozen, since they are EXTREMELY perishable. Many people like to cover them in sugar before freezing, but I think that’s silly. They are full of sugar as it is and I don’t think they need the sugar bath. The way I prefer to freeze my berries is easier and less messier. Ready? Rinse, hull (take the stems off), dry on a towel (sacrifice a cotton one and save the trees if you can) and then place on a baking sheet. You could use whatever pans you have (muffin tins, loaf pans), it doesn’t matter.
Just get them in the freezer and shut the door. Try to freeze them for a few hours (or overnight) and when they are nice and hard, transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock and keep them in the freezer. That’s it! I usually try to pick a lot to get me through the fruit-less winter. Especially since any strawberries you see in winter or summer do NOT even taste like strawberries and are expensive. Don’t waste your money, strawberries shipped from continents away are not going to be as good as the local ones.
Other things I have done with my strawberries thus far:
Fruit Leather. I love my food dehydrator. It has a nice little plastic thing that is perfect for making leather. I’m sure you could do this in your oven at a low temperature if you don’t have a dehydrator, but it will take longer. I pureed 2 cups of strawberries with 1 cup of red raspberries and added sugar to taste. I dehydrated this mixture for about a day (until it peels off the mold) and then wrapped it in plastic fruit-rollup style. It will last months in your cupboard.
Strawberry Sauce. I made this to go with the Lemon-Corn Waffles from VWAV. In a saucepan I put 3 cups of halved fresh strawberries, 1/2 tablespoon of arrowroot powder, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice. I brought this mixture to a simmer and once it thickened I took it off the heat. It may need more sugar depending on your palate. I don’t know how long this will last because there were no leftovers! I would safely assume a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer. I think this sauce would go really nice on ice cream, brownies or in oatmeal.
But mostly I have just been eating them in their purest form or with granola. Maybe I’ll put some on my chocolate peanut butter ice cream tonight (So Delicous brand—it’s great!)