How to Freeze Strawberries

StrawberriesIt is strawberry season, and once again, you got carried away at the u-pick farm and the farmers market. Or maybe it was just me. (The kids each wanted to pick their own flat, and I couldn’t deny them the pleasure, could I?) Household members (one in particular not pictured here) accuse me of food hording all through Wisconsin’s short growing season particularly with fruits as sweet and ephemeral as the strawberry. So while the season is here for 3 or 4 weeks in June and early July, we indulge in fresh and the extras we freeze.  Freezing offers the quickest and most simple way to preserve them, and it allows us to eat local strawberries all year long.

Frozen strawberries can be eaten as is.  My kids think this is the best treat ever–like a popsicle–and sometimes prefer this to a fresh berry.  You can also add them to smoothies; they bake up beautifully in pies and cobblers.  It is also a good idea to freeze berries before preserving them in other ways.  Frozen berries make a superior quality jam with fewer floaters than jam made with fresh.  Freezing berries pasteurizes them; this is an essential step in making fruit leathers with a longer shelf-life as freezing kills any bugs or eggs. With so many uses and freezing this easy, let the berry hording begin.

Steps to Freezing Strawberries–Individual Quick Freeze Method (IQF)

  1. Clean the fruit.
  2. Remove the stem.
  3. Spread the fruit so that the pieces are not overlapping on cookie sheets and freeze.
  4. Once frozen, place in freezer bags or containers and label.  They will keep in a deep freeze for up to a year.

This yields individually frozen fruit which you can use in any portion you want later–a single berry or a quart.  All berries freeze well using this method.  You may also freeze rhubarb like this.  Simple chop the rhubarb first before laying it on a cookie sheet.

Quick Pack Methods: You can simply dump the clean and de-stemmed fruit in a bag in the portion you desire–pint, quart etc. You can even mix in a little sugar. They will freeze as a mass. Not as flexible for later use, but the job gets done even quicker.

Strawberries--Freezing

Use a spatula to transfer the frozen berried from the cookie sheet to the freezer bag.

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If the kids picked the berries, why not have them freeze them too?

Strawberries--Freezing

Always use “freezer” bags, not “storage bags”.  If you don’t over stuff them you can stack them neatly in the deep freezer.

If you don’t have a deep freezer (and I suggest you get one if you want to eat locally grown food as much as possible) you can transform these into fruit leathers and store them on a shelf.

Click on the links for these frozen strawberry recipes:

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Sweet & Savory Whole Wheat Crepes

I love crepes.  Versatile, elegant, and quick, they can be used for breakfast, dessert or dinner.

If you make them with whole grains, (and you all know my point of view on whole grains), they are not only delicious but good for you.

Sweet & Savory Whole Wheat Crepes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish, Breakfast, or Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10 crepes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 T butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • Additional butter for skillet
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender; pulse for 5 seconds until blended; allow batter to rest in the refrigerator for 1 to 48 hours. (This is important if you want a crepe with a silky texture).
  2. Heat a 10-inch Teflon non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and grease with a bit of butter. Ladle about ¼ cup of batter in the hot pan and swirl until the bottom is thinly and evenly coated. Cook until the batter sets and the edges become golden—less than 1 minute. Flip and cook another 15 seconds. Lay on a rack. Repeat until all are cooked.
Notes
*Sweet Variation: Add 2 T sugar or honey *Savory Variation: Add ¼ t salt Preparation Tips: Only use whole wheat pastry flour. Bread flour or regular whole wheat flour will produce a tougher crepe. Flipping the crepe in the air is easier than using a spatula—try it. If you made your crepes in advance, wrap them in a damp paper towel and again in a tea towel and microwave briefly—about 2 seconds per crepe.

Storing: Stack crepes once they’ve cooled and store them in an air-tight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.  To freeze, stack them with wax paper between each crepe, and place them in an air-tight freezer bag in the freezer for up to 2 months

Stuffings and Toppings: The other half of the fun.  You don’t have to do much to make them tasty.  My children love to top them with a squirt of lemon followed with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Savory Ham & Spinach

Filling for savory or plain crepes       Yield: 3 cups

    • 1 T olive oil

    • 3 oz. ham, chopped

    • 1 small onion, chopped

    • 1clove garlic, minced

    • 6 – 8 cups chopped spinach

    • 1/2 cup grated cheese, try gouda, Swiss or gruyere

    • 1/4 cup chopped herbs like dill (optional)

    • 1/4 cup half & half or cream

    • Salt & pepper to taste

    • 6 – 8 plain or savory crepes for stuffing

Directions

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add onions, a little salt, and ham and sauté until onions are glassy.  Add garlic and sauté another minute.  Next add spinach and cook until barely wilted.  Add cream and grated cheese and continue to scook on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.  Add pepper and more salt if needed.

To Assemble: Add about 1/2 cup to each crepe, roll and serve. Or place in a baking pan, cover with grated cheese and bake at 325 F for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Simple Strawberry Compote

Filling for sweet or plain crepes    Yield: 4 cups

  •  2 pints strawberries, sliced

  • 3 T sugar

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • Garnish with whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce

Directions

In a sauce pan, add all ingredients and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens.  Ladle over crepe, garnish and serve.