Saturday, June 18, 2011

Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries

It's mid-June and that means it's the height of strawberry season. This morning we went over to Upinngil Farm and picked about 19 pounds. My husband and son picked another 9 pounds or so earlier this week. At the moment I've got strawberries in the freezer, strawberries in the dehydrator, and strawberries and rhubarb simmering on the stove to make jam. Mmmm.

To freeze whole strawberries, wash them well, then hull them and cut out any bad spots. If you have time, freeze them on trays for several hours, then package them in freezer bags (I use quart size). Otherwise, just put them straight into bags and freeze. The advantage of tray freezing is that it keeps them separate so you can take out just a few at a time instead of having to thaw the whole package. If you just put them straight into bags they will stick together.

I use a home dehydrator to dry strawberries, as I do for tomatoes, peaches, apples, and pears. Wash and hull the berries, then slice in half and arrange them on the trays. Dry until there is no moisture left in them; they will be somewhere between leathery and crisp. Store in an airtight container. They'll keep even longer if you store them in the freezer. I like to stir them into my oatmeal in the winter.

Strawberry season is short, especially the u-pick season, so if you haven't gotten out there yet, you should do it in the next week or you'll risk missing out.

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