It is spring and here in Texas that means strawberries! There are farms where you can pick your own strawberries and pay for them by the pound. Then it is all about enjoying as many of those juicy strawberries as you can before they go bad. Here are some tips and recipes to help you with your own strawberry harvest.
Picking your own strawberries is a great way for a family to spend time together. Spending a few hours outside in a strawberry field on a beautiful spring day is the perfect way to welcome spring out of hibernation. Some tips on picking strawberries:
- Always pick strawberries that are plump, firm, and fully red.
- Take the stem just above the berry, hold it between your thumb and forefinger, and twist. You want to leave some stem above the berry when picked.
- Strawberries bruise easily! Be gentle when you place them in the container, and do not try to overfill the container.
- Check with the farm before you go about whether you can bring your own container. Some farms make you purchase a container from them, though they do let you bring it back for next time.
- Do not forget sunscreen! You will be out in the sun for a while. Wear a wide-brimmed hat if you can. Bring water to drink, also.
If you will be using the strawberries in the next couple of days, put them in the refrigerator. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. If you want to keep them longer, freezing them is fine. Steps for freezing strawberries:
- Freeze the strawberries as soon as possible after picking them. You want them to be fresh.
- Wash the strawberries and drain them well in a colander. Make sure that you drain as much water as possible from them.
- Cut the hull (the green cap and leaves) off the strawberries. You can leave the strawberries whole or cut them into pieces.
- Put them in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Use a vacuum sealer if you have one.
- Label the bag with the date and contents; put in the coldest part of the freezer.
- To thaw some strawberries, set them in the refrigerator overnight.
Strawberry Dessert Sauce
- 2 cups strawberries, mashed
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm over puddings and soufflés.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 3 cups whipped cream
- 3 cups strawberries
Mix together milk, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Let mixture cool, and then add cognac and 2 cups whipped cream. Place 1 cup of strawberries in a mold, pour in half the cream; repeat process. Chill until firm. Decorate with the remaining strawberries and whipped cream. Serves 8.
Recipes are from The Czechoslovak Cookbook by Joza Brizova.
PickYourOwn.org is a wonderful resource on picking your own fruits and vegetables.