Now that you have a couple good ideas for using fresh picked strawberries, it’s time to start thinking about heading to a strawberry farm for the morning and doing a little pick-your-own. There are some great places around the state, PickYourOwn is a great website to look up options near you. We’re lucky enough to have a strawberry farm less than 10 miles away from us. The trick when you do this is not over picking – which I do every year anyway! There is something about picking these fresh strawberries, and how good they look that makes it hard to stop.
So along with using fresh strawberries in as many ways as you can, you may also want to think about freezing some strawberries too. There are 2 basic methods that I use for freezing strawberries sweetened slices or crushed, and whole.
Whichever method you choose, or if you choose both you’ll want some quart and gallon sized freezer bags.
Sliced or Crushed
I like combine sliced strawberries with a little sugar to release and macerate in their own juice before I freeze them. When you thaw these, they are awesome on strawberry shortcake or cereal – my favorite is rice krispies.
Start by slicing up a some strawberries and then combining them with sugar. I use about ¾ c sugar per quart of strawberries. You are welcome to use more or less to taste depending on how sweet your strawberries are to start and how sweet you want them in the end.
Stir together so the strawberries are evenly coated with sugar.
Allow them to sit for 15 minutes or so on the counter until the strawberries begin to release juice and the sugar is dissolved.
Next you’ll want to pack them into quart sized freezer bags. Lay these flat in the freezer. Once frozen, I like to pack them into larger gallon bags just to keep them all together.
Whole frozen strawberries have a bunch of uses, one of our family favorites is Strawberry Pretzel Jello. A new favorite I discovered on Easter weekend this year, when we decided to make banana splits for desert, is strawberry topping – just like DQ makes. Or simply to pop into smoothies and let the strawberries act as both fruit and ice.
Freezing strawberries whole is a two step process that starts with freezing and then packing. Flash freezing the strawberries separately and then packing them into plastic bags, prevents them from sticking together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don’t want to have any clean up) and place hulled strawberries, cut side down, onto the baking sheet.
Pop into the freezer until frozen, a couple hours. Remove and quickly move into a quart size bag.
Return to the freezer.