Sunday, July 6, 2014

Picking and Freezing Strawberries

I love strawberries!

I've had strawberry shortcake for my birthday cake for as long as I can remember. My mom made it for me every year. We would go strawberry picking together and then come home and make warm biscuits and homemade whipped cream. It's one of my most favorite memories.

We would get up early and go to this farm a few miles up the road from our house. When we got there the workers would give us a flag that we put at the end of the row we were picking to indicate which ones have been picked. We would then put another one where we stopped picking. They were very efficient, they kept track of where everyone was picking and rotated the patched every few days. You paid by the quart and they made sure you didn't pile the berries to high in each one.

Now I go to a farm just outside of the city to pick my berries. This farm does things a little bit differently than the one from my childhood. You show up with your own bucket, have it weighed and then they direct you to the field they are picking in for the day. Everyone just wanders around picking on their own as long as they stay in the designated area for that day. Now it doesn't seem to be to organized but I can tell you it's a lot less stressful for the customers. I like it much better this way. When your done you carry your bucket back up to the barn to have it weighed again and pay by the weight.
A few tips to remember if your going to go picking yourself. Remember to take water (it's going to be hot), wear a hat to keep your head in the shade, and take something to kneel on ( I use an old towel ) your going to be kneeling on the ground and you will at some point kneel on a smooshed berry. No need to ruin your jeans.
Here is one tip I want to share if your picking at a place that you pay by weight. This may seem a bit nit picky but trust me it will save you money. When your picking remember to snip the berries off the stem as close to the berry as you can.
Can you see that little stem? That is what you do not want.

This is what you want.

Now I know your thinking " that's just petty" ok maybe it is but I tested this out. Why would you pay for stems? You can't use them. I would not remove the whole cap because this might make the patch owner mad but you can snip off the stem as low as you can.
Ok. Now take your strawberries home, take the caps off and wash them. Strawberries don't hold up for long so use them or freeze them within a few days.
I'm going to freeze mine this time. I normally make some jam but I still have a few jars from last year so I'm freezing them for now. I'll make jam later if I need some.

All I do is wash them and put them in freezer bags. Press out and much air as you can.
I don't care too much about smashing them because I'm going to be using them for smoothies for jam anyway. Then just put them in your freezer.

 That's it. 

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