Monday, June 28, 2010

Preserving Strawberries






Picking Strawberries has become a tradition around here. I've seen them for .99 cents a pound at the grocery stores. They come clean and picked and ready to eat and for just a split second I wondered why I would go to the trouble of picking my own. It's hard work! Strawberries grow low to the ground and the best berries hide. Plus, they run about $2 a pound here depending on how many pounds you pick. Me, my sister, her boyfriend, and my two girls picked 79.2 pounds in two and a half hours and we paid a pretty penny to do so. Because we picked so many berries our price dropped, and we shared the cost among four families, but we were dang tired when the picking was done.
Why would we do such a thing? We love them! They make phenomenal jam and fruit smoothies for winter indulgence. Plus we know that these berries are grown without GMO's to make them bigger, chemicals to keep the bugs and weeds away, and fuel to import them from wherever they happen to come from. The extra work, and the extra cost is worth it in the end. Here's how we preserve them.
This year I froze 30 quart sized bags of whole strawberries, which will be added to fruit smoothies at least once a week for a whole year.Soak them in cold water to remove dirt and sediment. All the dirt will sink to the bottom of your...uhhh...sink.In one quick stroke of a sharp pairing knife remove just the green stem and leaves. Plunk the clean, hulled berries in a colander to drain and the hulls into a compost bowl on your cutting hand side of the sink. For me this is the left side of the sink, since I'm left handed. Once the berries have drained place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and place the pan in your freezer. No need to cover the berries as they will only be in the freezer for about an hour. I do this part in stages, since I only own 4 sheet pans. Freezing them in a single layer allows you to use partial bags of berriesBe sure to label your bags before


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