This past weekend, we loaded the family in the car and headed one hour north to our CSA farm to pick asparagus. On our way there, our farmer called and let us know we would also be picking strawberries. Perfect – that saves us an entire trip!
It was a cold, dreary day. While I was picking asparagus, the rain was so cold it was almost sleeting and the kids stayed in the car with hubby. It was the tail end of the asparagus crop, and it only took me 20 minutes to pick about 5 bunches worth. By the time we moved over to the strawberry patch, the weather was calming down and the rain had mostly cleared. We were assigned a row to pick and we got right to it.
Jackson was thrilled to be on the farm. He insisted on bringing his own bucket to help pick. And by pick, I mean grab already picked strawberries out of our bucket and eat them right there in the field.
Even with Jackson’s snacking, we managed to fill an entire 5 gallon bucket full of ripe strawberries. Ella even got into it, though I’m pretty sure she only ate dirt. Josh happily reminded me, “hey, at least it’s organic dirt!”
Once we got home I was pretty excited at our bounty, though a little overwhelmed. 5 gallons of strawberries, 5 bunches of asparagus and 6 dozen farm fresh eggs. The strawberries were so ripe, I knew we needed to do something with them right away.
Thankfully, I had just read a recipe for Strawberry Honey Jam over at 100 Days of Real Food. I had never canned before so I had no idea what I was doing. By the time I had gathered the correct supplies, cleaned and hulled the berries, cooked the jam and jarred it, I was done. The kids were tired and dinner needed to be made, so I skipped the processing part and stored the jam in the freezer. I’m determined to figure out canning this summer, so I know I can try it again. I was worried that the jam was too syrupy, so I kept a jar in the fridge and tried it the next day over my yogurt. It is a little runnier than store-bought jam, but the taste is heavenly!
I used 6 pounds of strawberries to make the jam, and I barely made a dent in the berries I had. Realizing that I needed to do something quickly so they wouldn’t spoil, I decided to freeze them. Freezing strawberries is super simple and at any time I can defrost them and use them just as I would fresh ones – in jam, smoothies, muffins, etc.
How to Freeze Strawberries
- Select ripe strawberries at their peak of freshness.
- Thoroughly wash the berries of all dirt and debris. Don’t wash the strawberries until right before you are ready to work with them, or since washing makes them spoil faster.
- Hull the strawberries and remove any mushy parts.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the berries on the sheet in an individual layer.
- Place them in the freezer until hard, usually a few hours at least.
- Once frozen, transfer the berries to a zip-top freezer bag. Don’t forget to date the bag – frozen strawberries are best enjoyed within 6 months, or up to one year if you vacuum seal them.
And that’s it! Super simple, and an easy way to save a fruit that may go bad. I gave Jackson a frozen one to try, and he loved it! I think I may try putting some in his water as a fun “ice cube.”
In the end, we ended up with 13 -8 oz jars of jam, 10 quart bags of frozen strawberries, and plenty of fresh ones eaten over the past few days. Not bad for a rainy Saturday morning of work!