feast and freeze

strawberries

We’re almost done with strawberry season here; last week’s heat just about put an end to a glorious and abundant season. While it lasted, we feasted. There have been several batches of strawberry ice cream, made with Brookford Farm milk and cream. There has been strawberry shortcake, and there was an afternoon where three quarts disappeared directly into our mouths. But the last of our berries will be headed for the freezer, lying in wait both for the September Eat Local Challenge and the upcoming winter, when local fruit is unavailable unless you plan ahead.
If your freezer is big enough, the best method is to wash and dry the berries, lay them out on a sheet pan, and freeze them whole. When they are frozen, put them into freezer bags (labeled well, of course) for future use.

Our freezer is not very big, so I washed and quartered the berries, and packed them pretty tightly into these deli containers. Frozen berries work perfectly for most every strawberry need – smoothies, pies, crumbles, ice cream, waffle and pancake toppings, and on and on.

The only thing they aren’t great for is eating fresh out of hand. Since there is no substitute, we feast while we can.

To try to catch the last of this year’s strawberries visit a Seacoast area farmers’ market, pick-your-own farm, or farm stand.

2 Responses to “feast and freeze”

  1. Jen says:

    Great tip on freezing the wonderful berries. If you can get some, dry ice is a great way to freeze delicate things like berries. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and is much, much colder than regular ice (-110°F). Because it’s so much colder, things freeze lickety-split. This is a good thing because rapid freezing creates small ice crystals and this inturn maintains the integrity of the fruit. When things freeze slowly, the ice crystals get bigger and poke holes in the cells of fruit creating holes which the juice runs out of when thawed. So, faster freezing = smaller ice crystals = thawed berries that still look like berries and not berry soup.

    Put a block in a cooler, line the berries on a sheet pan and place in the cooler. Close and come back 30 minutes later to rock hard berries. Just make sure you don’t stick your head in the cooler and breathe – it’s got a ton of carbon dioxide and you don’t want to breathe that in. But don’t worry – the food is 100% safe.

  2. Blueberries says:

    […] are here! I am back on my feast and freeze plan, with the added bonuses that a) blueberry season lasts a whole lot longer than strawberry season […]

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