Monday, June 7, 2010

Freezing Your Strawberries

So you have cleaned and prepped, now must decide how many you want and for what purpose later.  Here are a few options:

Pie Making
  • I especially love sorting out the smaller berries for bite size mouthwatering pie berries.
  • Place them single file on a cookie sheet and 'flash freeze' them. Just long enough for them to stiffen up or overnight if you are exhausted already. This way they are less likely to stick together in the container.
  • Label your freezer safe container or bag with the item "Whole Strawberries", Amount in the bag (usually 4 C. is good for a pie), and the Date...always date your containers! Sharpie's work great for labeling.
  • Place flat in the freezer for use later.

Sugar or No Sugar??

It just depends on what your future plans are for the berries. If you want to make jam at a later date...NO sugar. If you want them for shortcake etc, you can sugar them now if you like. If you just aren't sure what you want later, leave out the sugar altogether. You can add it after the thaw. Because I knew what I wanted my berries for, I sugared them. Here is what I did and the yummy reason "Why":
  • Place your whole, cleaned berries in a large bowl.
  • Whack those puppies up!
You can slice with a paring knife if you like...takes for-ever! Or you can make quick work with a gadget such as a Salad Chopper like the one in this photo:
  • All I did was chop, chop chop. I like a rough chop for texture. If you want to mash them, that works too.
  • Add sugar to taste. Everyone is different here. Use your best judgement. You can always add more, but you can't take it out!!
  • I like to let them sit just long enough for the sugar to dissolve and they will 'juice up' a bit.
  • Again, label your containers appropriately.
  • 2 C. per container is probably a good measure.
  • For bagging, it's important not to get gook on the seal strip. Either wipe away the mess or find a bowl that fits a quart bag upright and use your canning funnel like this:
  • My Husband's Aunt gave me this bowl...which is perfect for dips of course, but I use it ALL the time for bagging up garden goods.  I think I would cry if anything ever happened to it!!!

  • Another thing about freezer bags, I prefer the double lock as opposed to the zip-lock which seams to break off track alot or pop off track in the freezer.

  • If you are using bags, get ALL the air out that you can.

  • Lay them flat in the freezer to conserve space.
Now, here is why I sugared mine....

Strawberry Lemonade - Adult Style

2 Cans Lemonade Concentrate, thawed
2 C. Sugared Strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 to 2 C. Vodka
Enough water to measure out to 1 Gallon

Make 1 day in advance and the flavors combine beautifully. I like to serve mine with Sweet Lemon Sprinkle around the rim of the glass. Garnish with fresh strawberry or lemon wedge. FANTASTIC for the hot days ahead! I wonder if a little fizz would be good here? Maybe some lemon/lime soda and water to get that gallon measure? I might have to try that too....

Up Next...  Strawberry Jam!!

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