Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Great Strawberry Expedition

On Monday night, when the fabulous dude got home from work we decided to head to the next town over to pick some strawberries. I've mentioned before that our landlords have a small patch here, but this year it was not nearly as full as past years. So, off we went.

20 minutes and $11 later we came away with this basket heaping full (I could have sworn I took a picture when I got home but I cannot find it anywhere! I know a photo of an empty basket does not have the same effect)...

Then when we returned home, I did what any independent grown woman would do. I called my mom and asked her what the heck I am supposed to do with all these berries. Did I forget to mention that I also had three quarts of berries from the grocery store that I bought on the weekend?

Of course, I considered making jam. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided against it, because, well, I don't really love jam. So, my mom explained to me the process she uses to freeze strawberries for future use.

It sounded like a great plan to me. This way, if I change my mind later and decide to make jam after all, I still have the option.

I started by reserving a good size bowl of berries to eat fresh.

Then I washed and hulled the berries. The pampered chef strawberry huller is my new best friend. It makes the process so much quicker and easier (but I still have calluses on my hand).

Next, I lined the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet with edges.

I left some whole, and sliced some.

I made a flat space for them in the freezer and carefully placed them, one on top of the other.

I left them in the freezer for about 1.5 hours. You want them to be slightly frozen but be careful not to leave them too long or they will get frost bite. I know you can't tell the difference, but these are the berries after being frozen.

I took one cookie sheet out at a time and quickly transferred the berries into freezer bags before they began to thaw. If you want, you could freeze them in certain portions (1 cup, 2 cups etc..) but I just filled the bags. By flash freezing them like this, the berries will not stick together once placed in bags or containers. So, I can take out the desired number each time without having to use the whole bag.

I froze 4 cookies sheets worth, which ended up being 4 large freezer bags of whole berries and 1 small freezer bag of sliced berries.

Now I have plenty of strawberries for smoothies, baking or to eat over ice cream!

17 comments:

Lindsey said...

Yummy! I love strawberries with chocolate, mmmm!!

Brittany Ann said...

Genius! I hate that fruit solidifies into a lump when you freeze it. But not this way! Thanks!

Snow White said...

amazing catch ... as I was walking out of the building today, I saw a whole bunch of strawberries for FREE... yum.

oh, I have that same PC top remover and it is a life saver!!

TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo said...

Hi Lucy.
Your berries look amazing. We didn't make it this year to pick, but we have a couple dozen coming on our own bushes. Hopefully more next year. I NEED one of those fantastic strawberry hullers. That looks like some child labor possibility right there. ;)
Yummy!
*Tricia

...Mrs. Southern Bride... said...

OHHHH, I LOVE strawberries!!!

Now I need some...

;-)

C said...

Mmmm!! Genius way of freezing fruit! Thanks for sharing. I now have a strawberry craving.. Can I come over and steal some? ;)

Jill said...

oh my word, i am in HEAVEN reading this post! strawberries are my fave fruit ever. i love dipping them in powdered sugar- yum!

Jenny.Lee said...

They look so yummy!

Lucky in Love said...

This is un-freaking-believable! I am SO doing this :)

Kristen said...

oh they look amazing!!! I want to go strawberry picking!

Taryn said...

you have a strawberry huller? Dang. I just used a knife! You are one lucky ducky!

Kristin said...

mmmm...want to get some and do that for me???

New England Girl said...

It sounds like you guys had a great time! And they all look so very delicious... yum. We're going strawberry picking this Sunday and I am glad you've thrown out a way for me to save a bunch- thank you! :)

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

Just the other day we used up our last bag of strawberries from the previous season. I can't wait to get more!! Your berries are gorgeous! There's nothing like fresh strawberries that you picked yourself.

Hope you have a fun weekend! Beep when you drive through Sudz! :)

Christy Lee said...

I love strawberries! Great harvest! Take care.
Christy

The New Black said...

I have one of those 'tools' and had no idea that it was called a strawberry huller or what it was used for. Very informative! :)

You can never have too many strawberries...yum!!

Haley said...

OMG, these look SOOOOO GOOOOOOD! Thanks for sharing! I'm inspired to go eat some strawberries. Haha! I don't think I can make anything with it though like you. I'm a klutz in the kitchen. =P