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Every year we wait in anticipation for strawberry season.
One of the earliest local varieties in my area are hood strawberries (not an affiliate link. This is a local company that we purchased ours from and our plants have been in the ground for a year and are all healthy and doing well).
If you haven’t tried these little gems of sweetness you are missing out! They are so very juicy and sweet.
This variety is my favorite for making jam, freezing for smoothies and eating fresh.
As a kid, my Mom never bought strawberries from the store. Each year it was always from the local farm stands.
When I became an adult I decided to buy some from the store and it was such a disappointment. They weren’t nearly as sweet and juicy as the Hoods.
The downside to the Hood strawberries is the season is so short. The hoods are only ripe and available for about a month around the end of May to about the middle-end of June. So you want to make sure to preserve these so you can enjoy them year round.
We’ve had small strawberry patches in the past, but last year we planted a lot of plants of our favorite variety Hoods as well as some Albions.
The Albions have a much longer growing season.
Albions are what we buy from farm stands when the Hoods are no longer available. The Albions are still really sweet. Not quite as juicy as the Hoods, but they are a close runner up in our book.
With growing strawberry plants, you quickly find the plants send out runners, which turn into strawberry plants themselves. Pretty soon, you are left with a bounty of strawberries and if your patch is large enough, you need a way to preserve these strawberries.
No one ever complains about this, but they do often find themselves with more berries than they anticipated. If you find yourself with an abundance of strawberries this year here are a few ways you can preserve them.
One of the most popular ways to preserve strawberries is with strawberry jam. The sweet summertime flavor is perfect for making a chilly winter morning a bit brighter when you spread your homemade strawberry jam over your toast. You can use this to help you preserve your fresh summer strawberries.
Jam is easy to make and stores well making it the perfect canning project for beginners it can be water bath canned so you don’t have to make a large investment to get started and makes is a great option for families that want to have shelf stable storage. Once you master the art of making jams and jellies you can put it to work with every fresh summer fruit.
Freezer jam is another way of preserving strawberries. We can never get enough of our freezer jam in my house. My favorite recipe is the one in the pink low sugar Sure-Jell package. I have found that I can use the large mouth canning jars with these lids for the freezer jam I make. My kids go through this jam so quickly, they love it on toast, biscuits, and english muffins. I have a son who prefers this strawberry jam his pancakes instead of syrup.
Experiment with recipes until you find one you love. If it fails to set you can use the runny jelly as syrup for pancakes or mixing into yogurt.
If you have extra freezer space you can opt to slice and freeze strawberries.
Wash well, slice and lay out on a cookie sheet to freeze. After the strawberries have frozen toss them into a freezer bag and remove the air for storage.
My favorite way of using frozen strawberries is to add them into smoothies. We have smoothies a few times per week and go through a ton of frozen berries.
This is also a great way to save strawberries for mixing into oatmeal or to use in baking.
You can also thaw the frozen strawberries and use the juices to flavor and color strawberry frosting. Or if you prefer to use the berries frozen, toss some frozen berries into your child’s oatmeal to cool it down or eat right from the freezer on a hot summer day.
To make your frozen strawberries last even longer seal them with a vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn.
This is the food saver we have. I noticed the reviews aren’t all that favorable for it, but we’ve had it for almost a year and use it heavily and it is holding up well. We had another one that was almost identical to this one that we also used heavily for close to 10 years before it broke in a move.
If you have a dehydrator you can preserve strawberries and take up the least amount of space.
Dehydrated strawberries are easy to bring back to life for cooking and make a great snack or addition to trail mix.
Simply cut the strawberries and line them up on your dehydrator, Make sure the berry slices are not touching. then let it run for 4 to 6 hours. Store in an airtight container. You can vacuum pack for long-term storage.
If you are a fan of fruit leathers you can put that dehydrator to work by making your own strawberry fruit leather.
Simply puree your strawberries, then mix the strawberry puree with equal parts applesauce and dry it in your dehydrator on sheets designed for fruit leather. This is a great way to turn strawberries into a kid-friendly long-term storage snack without adding large amounts of sugar.
This is the dehydrator I have and love. I’ve had it close to 8 years and it has held up amazingly well during this time. I’ve made fruit leather, apple chips, and have used it to stabilize the temperature while making yogurt or as a warm place to put bread to rise. I also bought sheets similar to these for making fruit leather. I am so glad I bought them.
Did I miss your favorite way to preserve strawberries? If so, let me know in the comments below.
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