Currently in Vancouver we have STRAWBERRIES in season. Three weeks late due to a wet spring, local berry buyers are eager to scoop these berries up! I have fond memories of my family going out to pick berries each year at the farms. My brother and I were known to eat more than we put in our bucket, leaving the farm with full bellies and stained faces.
Strawberries are delicate and juicy making these delicious gems very perishable. Processing should happen the day of picking and purchasing. Some ways to process strawberries would be in jars (make a pulp to use when pureed strawberries are needed), make jam and storeyour freezer.
My favourite way to save the season is to freeze. This way I have access to beautiful fresh tasting berries after the summer season is over. By doing this work myself I also can ensure that my berries are processed in a safe and allergy-free environment. The opportunities are endless when they are frozen whole, but they can be frozen sliced or in a sugar syrup. Make sure the berries are firm, unblemished and bright red.
- Remove stem and hull (or slice off tops) strawberries.
- Rinse gently under cool water to remove excess dirt. Do not soak.
- Place on paper lined cookie sheets in a single layer and place in freezer.
- After the berries are frozen completely, you can either store in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container.
One way I love to use frozen berries in our house is to make breakfast smoothies. We go through quite a bit of berries this way so to make the berries last until the following spring, I label each bag with the month on it. When the berries in the bag are finished, that is it for the month for the strawberries until the next month. It works our great and everybody wins because I love to hoard and J likes to eat.
http://www.eatlocal.org -Your local FARMERS MARKET
Favourite strawberry farms in the Vancouver area:
Birak Berry Farm –Richmond