Very few things can match the beauty of a perfectly ripe, in season strawberry. Every year the season seems shorter and I always wish I had more time to get strawberry preserves into jars. Luckily, strawberries freeze beautifully and there are so many ways to use the frozen or thawed strawberries. You can’t beat the quality of the ones you clean and freeze yourself, and price wise, you can purchase local organic berries in season for roughly the cost of buying large production frozen berries in the winter. All you need is a bit of time to clean the berries and some freezer space.
Here’s how to do it; purchase as many local strawberries (organic if possible) as you like or can carry. Take off the stems and wash very well in several changes of cold water, dry very well. If you want to use the berries for baking or quick smoothies later in the year, you can quarter or slice them now. Once clean and dry, lay the berries out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for a few hours, or until solid.
Once completely frozen, take the berries off the sheet and place them in sealed containers or freezer bags and store in the freezer. As long as you keep them well sealed they will be good until next years strawberry harvest (if they last that long!)
Once thawed the berries are tender, juicy and sweet, so make sure you thaw them in a bowl or covered dish. Delicious on their own or with yogurt and granola, baked in muffins, jams and sauces, cakes, smoothies and so much more.
Oh, and don’t throw out the baskets! Farmers market vendors/farmers are always happy when you return them. Or, if you are the crafty type, check out our pinterest board for some ideas on creative ways to reuse them http://pinterest.com/heypomelo/fruit-basket-remix/