Entries in Strawberries (2)
Strawberry season is sadly long gone with the first frost of fall. The last warm days reminiscent of summer are lingering. And the nights are getting cooler.
That's all the more reason to buy what's left of the fresh, local strawberries and package them up for the cold winter months when I need a little reminding of what summer air smells like.
This naturally sweet fruit is one of the easiest, simplest things you'll preserve all year round. It also makes a wicked jam.
Strawberries are very delicate and sensitive to heat, so it's best to freeze them shortly after buying (unless of course you're enjoying them fresh). I should note that refrigerating them does not improve their quality -it will only keep them fresh for 2 to 3 days. Warm temperatures will cause strawberries to brown because the pigments that make them red are heat sensitive and break down when exposed to heat. The all important Vitamin C is also heat sensitive, and will be lost as well when strawberries turn brown, or are heated when cooked.
When freezing your berries, whatever you do, please do not just lump this gorgeous fruit together into a plastic bag. They will just freeze together into a giant ball and get freezer burn. This will make it impossible for you to grab a handful of strawberries for smoothies and other things like dessert. Think of the vanilla ice cream! Let's give them a little tender love and care!
How to Freeze Sliced or Whole Strawberries
- Make sure you buy strawberries that are free of any mold. To wash, place berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Do not allow them to sit in water as they will lose colour, flavour, and nutrients.
- After washing, remove the green cap with a pairing knife without removing any of the fruit.
- Slice the berries (optional), lay them on a baking sheet covered in a sheet of parchment paper making sure there is minimal touching, and freeze until solid. At least 1 hour or longer.
- Transfer the berries to a plastic resealable freezer bag and store in your freezer for 6 months.
Mmm, delicious sweet strawberries.
Strawberries for me.
There's nothing like local fresh fruit from your farmers market in the summer time. I have oodles of strawberries from my latest visit this Saturday. It's just too easy to buy more than you need when they're such a good price and they're so juicy and fresh! I'm saddened though that there are no local cherries this year, because the crops were ruined by the weather we had in the spring. I will still justify the splurge to buy them even though they are 6.99 lb. :o being imported from the US.
I suppose I over compensated the lack of cherries (my favourite fruit) with more strawberries during this past Saturday visit to the market. That's okay though because nothing beats biting into a fresh strawberry.
Check out this monster looking one!
I recently learned a trick to keep them they're freshest for longer. If you store them unwashed in a glass container with a tight fitting lid in the fridge they will keep slightly longer than if you were to store them uncovered. Then just wash and cut them as you need them. It works for any kind of berry too.
However, if you buy way more than you can eat in a week like I did, and you don't like wasting perfectly good strawberries...you MAKE JAM! Not just any jam, pure strawberry maple jam made with local maple syrup, strawberries and ...chia seeds!
This powerful little seed is praised for its health benefits and being an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids. They're benefits are similar to flax seeds, but multiplied x10, and are a great way to lower cholesterol as they hold 9 times their weight in water, and have both soluble & insoluble fiber. The soluble kind will absorb water and can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your blood stream.
I usually have them stirred into my oatmeal nearly every morning.
I've seen this method of jam making on blogs before and so I decided to give it a go and make my own version. It was so simple to make! I think I will put a spoonful of this jam on my oats tomorrow morning instead of stirring in chia seeds.
Strawberry Maple Chia Jam
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Rinse and dry your berries, then slice them over a bowl.
- Mash them with a fork or potato masher.
- Mix in the chia seeds first and stir well to incorporate them. Then stir in the maple syrup.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to a mason jar and place in the fridge to let it set and thicken for at least 30 mins before you use.
This will last for at least a week.
Perfect for toast, topping oatmeal or pancakes with, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, or even spread on top of warm scones!
Pair it with some natural nut butter spread on whole grain ryvita crackers or melba toast and you've got a great mid-afternoon snack. It would be great with some greek yogurt and granola too.
Have you ever tried making chia jam before?