(We have a lot of strawberry plants. Kansas Dad planted 150 last spring, about half of which were June-bearing, I think. Many of those put out shoots that he stapled with garden staples so they would put down their own roots. We'll be planting more next year or so and I'll try to post then on what we learned about strawberry plant placement for maximum ease in picking.)
So what did we do with all of them? We ate a great many (yum!) and froze quite a bit (over 40 cups, mostly hulled and whole; we've already been digging those out for smoothies).
We also used a bunch right away:
- strawberry soup (I used a recipe online that was ok but not great so I didn't even save the link. Mostly it tasted like melted smoothie.);
- 4 loaves strawberry bread (I decreased the oil in the recipe because it was almost too moist!);
- strawberry shortcake (from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution);
- sour cream strawberry muffins (substituting for the blueberries in a recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains, very tasty!);
- strawberry crumble bars (substituting for raspberries in a recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains, very good but next time we'll have to make them for a party - it was too many to eat before they went bad);
- strawberry pie using oatmeal nut pie crust (Both of these were delicious, especially that crust! I pressed the crust into the pie pan, refrigerated for 30 minutes, baked for about six minutes, then cooled and refrigerated again before putting in the strawberries.);
- strawberry compote (which is just strawberries and sugar, to use on my very first angel food cake);
- 2.5 pints strawberry-banana freezer jam (which only First Son really liked; we're probably going to use it up in smoothies or something); and
- 2.5 pints strawberry freezer jam (which we don't like as well as the canned jam we made; freezer jam seems to have a stronger taste and we prefer it a bit more mellow).
I particularly like that pretty strawberry jelly on the end:
Here's what we have (all recipes from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving):
- 17.5 pints strawberry jam (the original quick recipe, some with liquid pectin and a variation with some lemon peel so it's "lemony");
- 6 pints strawberry jelly;
- 11 pints quick strawberry lemon marmalade (We love this recipe. Next year we'll be more ambitious and try some of the traditional marmalade which should be more caramelized.);
- 3.5 pints strawberry syrup (for pancakes and waffles and other such yummy fare);
- 2 pints strawberry sauce (for ice cream and other desserts - very yummy, but a bit harder to make than the quick jams with pectin because I had to stir boiling strawberry goo for 15 minutes. It's a good thing we have one of those plastic mitts to protect my poor hands - I still had to switch hands every few minutes because they'd get too hot!); and
- 3.25 pints maple strawberry smooch (a very good dessert topping option for those who prefer maple syrup to sugar or who happen to live somewhere that has a lot of maple syrup. You know who you are.).
I highly recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Many of the recipes can be found inside the Ball boxes of pectin (including the marmalade recipe), but the back of the book has an extensive "tutorial" on canning with lots of tips and explanations that make following the recipes a lot easier. There are also a bunch of other recipes (many of which can be made with a simple water bath rather than a pressure canner) that we want to try with tomatoes and other produce. If you have excess garden or CSA produce, you're sure to find something intriguing to try.
Now I can save this post to read when the harvest gets overwhelming next year. I'll remember how wonderful all these treats were throughout the year and how satisfying it feels to look at that table full of jars! (We've also been even more inspired to get some other berry plants in. Perhaps we'll be able to plant some next year.)
For those that are wondering, we still have a few fruits on the ever-bearing plants, but it's not enough to even make it into the house.