Strawberry picking, for real this time

This morning we left the house before 10 am and didn't get home till 3:30 pm and I hadn't technically packed lunch before we left. Thank goodness I thought to grab that half loaf of bread from the freezer before we left. 

We didn't spend all that time picking, but most of it. Since we were close to our csa farm we stopped there on our way home, played & chatted with friends and picked up our bags bursting with carrots, Chinese cabbage, beet greens, lettuce, parsley, peas and Swiss chard. That's a lot of farm goodness in one day.

My goal was to pick 50 lbs of strawberries this morning. Last year I spread out the picking over 2 weeks or so. But this year's rain, rain and more rain hasn't allowed that slow and steady pace. Today was the day to pick. Well... I do have to go back early next week since I left something (non-important) there. Any excuse to pick more berries, if there's any left. After hours of back aching labor we managed to pick 40 lbs, filling all our buckets and calling it good. The kids helped for an hour or so then I let them loose to run amok around the field, forest and stream.

The berries aren't organic unfortunately, but they aren't sprayed with pesticides either. That's a compromise I'm willing to make, after all I don't have much choice this year since the organic farms are smaller and didn't have good enough crops for large pickings.

So what do I do with all these berries? I freeze them.

I am not a jam maker for a couple reasons:

  1. Today's "lunch" loaf from the freezer aside, we don't eat a lot of bread. Damien is gluten sensitive and for the rest of us it's not as nutritious as whole foods - beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits & grains.
  2. Jam requires sugar and we choose not to eat very much of that either. Speaking of jam, my mom (the woman who taught me to love berry picking!) makes a wickedly good recipe called platter jam. It's a treat for our Christmas visits and she even brought some camping this past weekend. It can be made with fresh or frozen berries. Mom, would you consider posting the recipe in the comments?? 

We may not eat a lot of jam but boy oh boy do we love our berries - talk about delicious and nutritious - so instead of the usual canning we freeze ours to make smoothies and strawberry sauces throughout the fall & winter. If I pick enough they'll last till early spring.

Freezing Strawberries

I've had people ask me how I do this so I thought you might like to know. I learned this from my mom.

  • Rinse berries in water. Don't let them sit in the water they'll take on too much moisture.
  • Remove stems and/or bad spots with knife or fingers - I use both.
  • Lay on baking sheet, close but not touching.
  • Set in freezer till solid or mostly solidly frozen. Remove and put in large Ziploc bags.


Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

 This is Damien's recipe. He's the smoothie maker around here. We eat/drink/slurp these throughout the year as dessert or sometimes breakfast. Everyone we serve them to loves them.

  • 1 cup orange juice or 2-3 oranges, peeled
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup fruit, frozen (strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc.)
  • 4 dates
  • â…› cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbsp. coconut
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.

How do you like to eat your strawberries? Check out today's Food Roots for more seasonal food goodness.

Filed Under

« The greens report & recipes
Pretty Thrifty »
  • nicola

    nicola on July 10, 2009, 3:27 a.m.

    yum yum yum. we have been doing loads of smoothies here, too. i blogged about them last friday. but the strawberries...i am envious. we don't have any u-pick organic strawberry farms and i just don't do non-organic on strawberries. i should plan for a u-pick on ollalieberries, though! nicola


  • Jenn

    Jenn on July 10, 2009, 3:59 a.m.

    yes, we eat smoothies ALOT, we freeze about 1/2 our berries and turn the other half into jam. we eat bread. we also eat sweet stuff sometimes. i especially love elderberry jelly and syrup on homemade pancakes.


  • Karen

    Karen on July 10, 2009, 11:11 a.m.

    Tis the season; I picked a whack of berries this week too. A start for stocking up the freezer. Amazingly, I was able to find the original recipe for the platter jam - which I had cut out eons ago from a Canadian Living magazine. It's a "century-old" method of making jam: credits go to a Marni Kuhn who was given the recipe from her mother. Easy as jam can be: 5 cups strawberries, 3.5 cups granulated sugar. Rinse berries briefly in cold water: hull. In large heavy saucepan, gently combine berries and sugar. Place over low heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until sugar has dissolved, stirring often. Increase heat to high and bring to rolling boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 10 minutes; remove from heat and skim off foam, using metal spoon. Pour out onto large platter and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.Can be sealed in jars with conventional method or also frozen. I usually put it in jars and refrigerate, as it's not a large batch and we use it up quickly. This jam is quite 'saucy' so can be a bit messy; if you have some raspberries to substitute for some of the strawberries, their pectin will help thicken it up a bit. Great for toast, pancakes, ice cream, cereal, etc. Yum yum.


  • Shannon

    Shannon on July 10, 2009, noon

    Wow, 50 lbs is impressive. Way to go! Thanks so much for participating in food roots I always enjoy your posts and beautiful pictures. What camera do you use? I have been experimenting with my Kodak point and shoot, but can never get that quality of photos.

    Shannon's last blog post... Food Roots - June 9: where does your food come from?


  • Kathie

    Kathie on July 10, 2009, 3:58 p.m.

    What an awesome haul! I love smoothies too - my favorite being strawberry banana.

    I have a great recipe for strawberry jam that only uses a bit of unsweetened apple juice for the sweetening if you're interested... It does require canning or refrigeration, however.


  • Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom

    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom on July 11, 2009, 3:46 a.m.

    Ohh sounds awesome and delicious! I really need to look into some berry picking around here, I would love to try that (though I guess the storage issue could be problematic again on that one =/). I'm fascinated by the smoothie recipe, cashews is such a cool and different addition... I'm going to have to give that a try too.

    Thanks so much for the input about the CSAs! And my boyfriend scolded me about being dubious about the meat thing, but it really is soo hot here right now... I get nervous driving frozen food just home from the grocery store haha. I would definitely like to try to eat more local meat though, so I'll have to try to figure out something. Or just work on being less paranoid. ;P

    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom's last blog post... The Ultimate "Cheat sheet" for Finding Organic and Local Produce... CHEAP!


  • Laura

    Laura on July 13, 2009, 12:45 a.m.

    Wow, I'm impressed - that's a lot of strawberries! I'm going to have to try that smoothie recipe - it's too hot here to do much "real" cooking. :)

    Laura's last blog post... :: photo friday :: preparing


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.