Strawberry picking time has just begun in Northeast Ohio! If you’re lucky enough to get a big harvest out of your own garden, or if you head out to a Pick-Your-Own patch like my family did, here are some great ideas for what to do with your bountiful harvest.
First, here’s a great tip to lengthen the life of your berries in the fridge:
Add 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water when you rinse your berries. It will kill off any microorganisms or spores that could cause them to spoil quickly. I rinsed mine with clear water before using them in other recipes. (I spotted this tip on Fabulessly Frugal–I haven’t had my berries around long enough to see how it’ll work yet, but it’s worth a shot!)
Next, we sorted our berries. Those that were a little smushy or not quite ripe, I cut and set aside to be used in jam, sauce, or to freeze for later use (mmm…smoothies!) Berries can be easily frozen by spreading them on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Place the whole tray in the freezer for a few hours until the berries are firm, then put the berries in a gallon zip top freezer bag for storage.
Freezer Jam is a great option for fresh berries in the summer. Last year I tried this quick and easy No Cook Freezer Jam recipe with both strawberries and blueberries, and was pretty pleased with the result. For more traditional jams, just follow the directions on the pectin packets or use your favorite recipe.
- 4 cups mashed fruit
- 1 ½ cups of sugar or Splenda (the granulated kind for baking)
- 5 Tablespoons of Ball brand Real Fruit Instant Pectin **Make sure you're using INSTANT pectin for this recipe**
- Wash and mash your fruit–about 2 lbs. makes 4 cups of fruit. If you like your jam with chunks of fruit you can do it by hand with a potato masher, but I just gave it a whirl in my blender–super easy!
- In a separate bowl, briskly wisk 1 ½ cups of sugar and 5 tablespoons of pectin.
- Add the mashed fruit to the pectin/sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes making sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl. (I did all the whisking/mixing in my KitchenAid with the whisk attachment–again, super easy!)
- Pour into clean containers that can freeze (glass jars or plastic freezer containers) and let it set on the counter for 30 minutes before freezing.
The best berries will get stored in the fridge to be used whole or eaten over the next few days. First request from the kiddos: Chocolate Covered Strawberries!
- Melting Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
- Melt chocolate in the microwave on 50% power, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval. (I melted mine in a teacup since I wasn't melting a ton, and it worked great!)
- Choose firm strawberries for dipping--no mushy spots or bruises! Make sure they're completely dry after washing them.
- Hold the strawberries by the leaves/stem and dip into the melted chocolate.
- Place on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet, and allow to cool until the chocolate is firm
We also made an easy recipe for strawberry sauce to eat with pancakes. It’s also great on homemade waffles, or even ice cream, and could be made with pretty much any kind of berry!
- Berries, mashed
- 1-2 tsp corn starch
- Mash around two cups of berries with a potato masher until they are mostly mashed, but still with some chunks. Choose whatever texture you like best.
- Put mashed berries in a small saucepan.
- Add around 1/4 c. sugar to the mashed berries (more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the berries).
- Add 1-2 tsp of corn starch to help thicken the sauce (more or less depending on how thick you want the sauce to be)
- Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring until it reaches the desired texture and thickness.
- Serve over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or anything else that sounds yummy!
My big kids (4, 6, and almost 8) decided they wanted to make a recipe on their own, so we tried the Strawberry Shortcake recipe on the back of the Bisquick box–worked like a charm! I gave each of them regular table knives (not too sharp) so they could slice the berries, and they measured and mixed the simple ingredients for the shortcake themselves. They felt like total rock stars after we assembled their beautiful (and delicious!) desserts!
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup Bisquick
- 2 Tbsp. sugar (we used a little less)
- 1/3 cup milk
- Slice strawberries and mix with 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
- Mix the Bisquick, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and milk.
- Drop onto a cookie sheet in four equal-sized cakes.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown
- Split each cake in half, and spoon strawberry slices into the middle. Top with a few more strawberries and a drizzle of the strawberry juice, followed by whipped cream.
I’d love to hear what you like to do with strawberries–what are your favorites? Don’t forget to Pin or Share these recipes so you’ll have them handy for later use!