(You’ll probably think I’m crazy after you read the following first sentence, or maybe you already think I am!, but I promise….there are many uses for strawberries!)
I just got back from picking 35 pounds of strawberries!!!!!! Yes, I’m sure you are thinking….what in the world would make someone pick that many and how in the world will she eat them all???
Well, here goes… Last summer we picked about 20 pounds of strawberries and they lasted us about 8 months. So this year, I’m trying to get enough to last us the whole year through. Think I have enough??
The reason I do this, is because U-Pick farms have strawberries at a much lower price, you get more nutrients from the fruit because there is minimal time from farm to table, you get dirt in your toes (have you figured out yet that I really like dirt?), and it provides a great outdoor activity for the kids!
So how much lower is the price?? Maple Ridge Farms, the U-pick farm I LOVE, has their strawberries at $1.50/pound and if you buy more than 20 pounds, the price is $1.25/pound! So its’ a no-brainer for me! Pick away!!
But what to do with all of these strawberries? By the time we get home I am seeing red, red, and more red, and I begin to ponder…maybe I really am crazy?
#1. Berry Jam…the best part about making jam is that the berries do not have to be fresh, you can use frozen. So just freeze, see below for notes on that, and then save making jam for a day when you have more time.
#2. Fruit Smoothies…we make fruit smoothies all the time. We just throw in whatever berries and fruit we have on hand, add some yogurt, and 100% juice, and puree away.
#3. Eat them frozen, straight from the bag…(blaming a little sister for going through the strawberries so fast last year – she probably ate 2 gallon size bags by herself in the 6 weeks she lived with us!)
#4. Let defrost and eat with a fork….yes, they will be mushy and your kids might protest but why not start early teaching kids about the seasonality of eating local produce and if they want to eat strawberries in December, then there has to be a compromise….they’ll still get that same flavor but the consistency will be different.
#5. Berry Muffins
#6. Top homemade Belgium waffles with them and icecream
#7. Cobbler, Pies, Scones, the dessert list could go on & on
#8. Strawberry soup perhaps??? Not really sure of any other ideas at this point!
To preserve the fruit, you first rinse off in a cold water bath in your sink, then you hull them with a magic strawberry huller and then slice to desired size and place in a gallon sized ziploc freezer bag.
And yes, we do have a stand alone freezer in our garage that we use for storage.
If you live in the Lowcountry and have a strawberry craving, I suggest Maple Ridge Farms in Canadys, SC…they have the perfect soil for growing sweet fruit and their strawberries are not dusty & dirty because they do not have the sandy soil you find on the islands around Charleston. The farm is in Colleton County, about an hour drive from Charleston, but I think its well worth it. Fritz and his wife are so down to earth and enjoy talking to you about how they farm the land.
The strawberries should be around for another month and at this point, near the end of the season, they are sweeter!
For U-Pick Farms throughout the US, check out the Pick Your Own website.
You may have decided I’m crazy for picking 35 pounds, but hopefully this post will inspire you to pick some berries this summer!
And if you have any suggestions of how I can use up all these strawberries, I’d love to hear!!!
Happy Fruit Eating Season!