It’s picking time, and we’re not talking about choosing between stainless or color finishes. Strawberry season is underway in many parts of the country. You might have chocolate dipped jumbo ones on your mind from a Mother’s Day brunch, or a fruit kabob from a weekend barbecue. Maybe you tasted some fresh made strawberry shortcake recently at a trendy farm to table restaurant. Whatever the case, now is the perfect time to go picking at your local farms to either experiment with some recipes or save a few batches to enjoy with Memorial Day barbecues and Fourth of July celebrations.
We know fresh produce doesn’t last forever, so here are two ways recommended by Lakeview Farms near the TRUE headquarters to freeze your berries to keep them tasting delicious all summer long!
Step 1: Wash the entire strawberry and then remove the stems.
*With sugar option
Step 2: Wash and remove hulls, then slice the berries and place in plastic freezer bags--add sugar to suit your taste or the cooking recipe you will be following (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to every 2 cups (pint) of sliced berries). Be sure to note the quantity of berries and sugar used on the package to avoid "guesswork" when you use the strawberries later. Tie and put the bags into the freezer immediately. Using sugar while freezing strawberries almost always enhances the frozen product.
*Without sugar option
Step 2: Wash and remove hulls but don't slice, dry on a towel then place on a cookie sheet one layer at a time in the freezer. After they are frozen (usually the next day) scoop up the berries and place in a freezer bag. These berries can then be removed individually for cereal or shortcake anytime! Try thawing them out half way (don't cook them) in the microwave before you use--- this will take some experimenting with settings and time to get just right. If you take them out of the freezer and allow them to thaw slowly, they will usually be soft, mushy, and not very attractive (but taste OK).