Strawberries!

One of the things I was really looking forward to when we moved to MN was the farm fresh produce available and the eventual garden of my own.
I got my first taste of this fresh bounty on a recent Friday night.  My grandma called to tell me that Sam’s Produce in Arkansaw, WI had strawberries ready for picking for the next few weeks.  Well, that Sunday was Father’s Day and the next weekend we were going to Southern MN for a birthday party so Saturday morning was the only option. 
Well, let me tell you I totally made out! My girls and I got to spend the afternoon  with my grandma and buy plump ruby red strawberries that had been on the plant that morning for $2.58 a pound.  Woohoo!  On most days my girls and I would have done the picking ourselves, but I was not feeling the best and just couldn’t bring myself to pick anything that required crouching.  The bit extra I paid for pre-picked was well worth it and I walked away with 2 flats of strawberries. That’s 24 pounds if you’re paying attention.

The next obvious question is what on earth am I going to do with 24 pounds of fresh strawberries?  (For those of you who don’t have experience with really fresh strawberries, one has about 48 hours to clean and process them before one has to cut off more than half of each berry due to over-ripeness or general mushiness.) I was on a deadline.

First off I froze about 12 pounds on sheet pans to use in smoothies or in general when strawberries are no longer in season.

Next, with Sunday being Father’s Day and my husband being such a big fan of fresh strawberry pie it was only natural that it took its rightful place on the dinner table. And holy crap was it good!

 I used the Pillsbury recipe that only used crushed strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and water for the glaze. The sheen wasn’t quite what I wanted so I will work on that part, but it tasted great and Father’s Day dinner became one for the books.  In addition to the pie, I made J. Kenji Lopez from seriouseats.com’s beef stroganoff.  Check it out, read the whole article and make it immediately!  It’s the best stroganoff I have ever tasted.  Thank you Kenji!  I would go more into the stroganoff but this post is supposed to be about strawberries and not a love letter to this last meal worthy dish.

After dinner on Sunday evening I had about 8 pounds of strawberries left and the clock was ticking.  On top of that, whole strawberries have a very short shelf life thing, I work on Monday and will have precious little time to process strawberries.  So I grabbed some overripe bananas that have been patiently waiting to be transformed into bread and made strawberry banana bread; I froze one more sheet pan; and left the last two pounds to be snacked on  by my girls.

And that’s how you too can use 24 pounds of strawberries in less than 36 hours.  You may have noticed that I didn’t make any jam.  Well, I have about 5 pints left from last year and now have access to rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, and who knows what else.  I only have so much room in my freezer/pantry and can’t let strawberries hog all the space.

From my little corner of the world, thanks for reading and happy eating.
Caffeter, the Milkmaid

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