Sweet, juicy, bold, and beautiful, strawberries are one of the best things about summer! And though we really shouldn’t complain about a huge harvest, we do sometimes have a hard time knowing what to do with an overabundance. But not to worry! There are plenty of recipes, ways to preserve, and other awesome things to do with too many strawberries on hand. And they’re not just pies and jams.
Make Preserves or Jams
One of the best ways to use too much fruit is to make preserves or jam. It’s a big project, though, so you’ll want to collect the ingredients at once, and those beautiful berries, and get to work.
One of the great things about preserves is that you can save them all for yourself or you can make them as gifts for folks you care about. Or heck, if you’ve got so many berries on hand that you really can’t handle it, find a farmer’s market and sell the extra jars.
You’ll find loads of tutorials and recipes for preserves and jams online. Some don’t require pectin. But choose wisely based on the equipment, time commitment, and energy you have available for making them. You may even want to try a few different iterations for different combos and flavors, too.
If you’ve got the freezer space, the fastest and easiest way to preserve your strawberries for flavorful use all year is freezing them. Rinse the berries thoroughly before hand with cold running water, then spread them out on paper towels to dry. If you’re in a hurry, gently pat them try with a tea or kitchen towel.
Place the berries into airtight containers or zipper bags after they are completely dry. Then, pop them in the freezer. They can last a good long time, up to one full year, without getting freezer burnt or otherwise damaged. Just remember, if you thaw them out, don’t return them to the freezer or they’ll frost and burn.
Dehydrate the Berries
If you’ve got a dehydrator, or a lot of patience with a low-temp oven, you can dehydrate your strawberries. These make for the perfect snack, salad topper, or trail mix ingredient. They work well in granolas and other cereals, certain desserts, and other amazing meal and snack choices, too.
If using a dehydrator, follow the basic instructions for dehydration for fruit. If using the oven, slice up the berries and lay them out on parchment paper. Set the oven to 200 degrees F, then dry the strawberries for 2 hours.
Can Them for Later
Even if you’re not into making jam or preserves, you can simply can the berries. Using just a few simple ingredients, you may can the berries without a lot of effort or extra ingredients. An easy tutorial from Practical Self-Reliance shows you how to can them without special equipment. So, just buy the jars and ingredients, and you’ll have some shelf-stable berries in no time.
Make Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
Another way to preserve some of those strawberries is to use them in long-lasting foods like vinaigrette dressings so you don’t have to consume them immediately. To make the dressings, you’ll need fruit, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and seasonings. You can find plenty of recipes online for multiple batches or ideas.
Dehydrate Some Strawberry Leather
Dehydrating strawberries creates a fun, healthy treat for you or the family. You just need a little bit of oil and some apples in some recipes, for the perfect easy treat. Turn the oven on low and dry for several hours or use that dehydrator.
Enjoy Your Own Strawberry Freezer Pops
You know those fruit pops in the freezer section that cost a small fortune? Turns out, they’re basically just pureed fruit with a little sugar (or none!), frozen into Popsicle forms. If you’re into that kind of sweet treat, you could whip up a bunch with those extra strawberries. Once they’re frozen, transfer the extras into airtight containers for long-term storage and enjoy them through the fall and even into winter.
Strawberries just need a little bit of sugar for self-maceration. That means, no need to soak them in liquid for a time before you can turn them into sauce. Instead, add a little sugar and let the fruit rest for about half an hour. You’ll notice the chopped berries become saucy on their own. Can them, freeze them, or serve them right away as a saucy goodness for your ice cream, cake, donuts, pancakes, or anything else that deserves a spoonful of fruity sweetness.
Make Compound Butter
Combining strawberries, unsalted butter, honey, lemon zest, and vanilla will get you a nice compound fruit butter. Wash and chop up the berries and blend them together with the ingredients. Use the compound butter for quicker spreads than jam, ice cream toppings, fruity dips, bagel schmear, or anything else you like. They can be frozen or kept in the fridge for about a week.
Another great way to use up too many strawberries from the harvest is via strawberry syrup. This concoction is perfect for all sorts of things and is quick and easy to make. A little water, sugar, starch, and those jewel-toned berries, and you’ve got the perfect base for mocktails, cocktails, pancake toppings, and more.
For a custard-like topping, try making strawberry curd. The sweet, creamy spread is perfect for biscuits, filling for cookies, English muffins, and so much more. And, if you really love scones, this is the perfect filling for prize winning flavor with dollops of cream.
Make a Host of Strawberry Themed Salads
Whether you think of strawberries as viable with vegetables or not, they do make an amazing topping for summery salads.
Serve Up Some Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad with Chicken
For a tasty, easy salad, whip up a strawberry poppy seed salad with chicken from the Taste of Home. You’ll just need romaine lettuce mix, cooked chicken, strawberries, pineapple tidbits, oranges, bluerries, pecans, and poppy seed dressing.
Strawberry Panzanella Salad with Homemade Croutons
Make your own croutons from sourdough with this Panzanella salad, with mint, berries, homemade dressing, and a few other simple ingredients. You won’t regret it!
Watercress and Strawberry Salad
Country Living offers this beautiful watercress and strawberry salad, perfect for your summer abundance. You’ll craft your own salad dressing and use watercress, fruit, Persian cucumbers, ricotta salata, and toasted almonds. It won’t take long to make, either, so it’s great for a quick meal.
Strawberry Arugula Salad with Feta
For a more savory salad, with a tiny spicy kick, mix up this strawberry arugula salad topped with feta cheese. The salad uses arugula, loads of fresh fruit, pine nuts (or almonds), feta cheese, green onions, and a tangy homemade dressing.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Another quick and easy salad that’s oh, so delicious comes from A Couple Cooks. Using maple syrup, strawberries, and apple cider vinegar, you’ll have a vinaigrette dressing. Then, combine strawberries, red onion, various greens, spinach, pecans, and feta, for the perfect sweet and savory meal.
Almond Strawberry Salad
For an even quicker salad, toss together the ingredients for this Taste of Home recipe. You’ll need strawberries, spinach, almonds, honey, and apple cider vinegar. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll have the perfect summertime meal or side.
Swift Strawberry Salad
Looking for a sweet salad? Try this Swift Strawberry Salad from Taste of Home. You’ll need fruit, caramel topping, maple syrup, orange juice, and cashews. In no time, you’ll have this dessert-like salad fit for a romantic summer night.
Enjoy Strawberry Drinks of All Sorts
While many folks may think of juices requiring apples or oranges, any strawberry farmer will tell you that strawberry juice is the best! But even if you can’t make true strawberry juice, there are loads of other amazing drinks you can make with this sweet berry.
Make Smoothie Freezer Packs
If you love smoothies but don’t want to make the batch every single time, use up that abundant harvest with freezer packs. You can use the berries whole, pureed, or halved for the packs. You can mix other ingredients in, like blueberries, bananas, green tea, or anything else you might want in the smoothie. Combine everything into one water-tight container, then toss them in the freezer. The perfect way to save the berries and save yourself time in the moment.
Enjoy Some Granitas
A nice, light, icy post-meal use for strawberries is granitas. These combine other fruits and some alcohol, like vodka, for an icy, blended slushy-like drink. If you’re not keen on the alcohol, make it a virgin, and enjoy the sweet, flavorful frozen-fruit slush with the kids. Enjoy any time of the year, too, as you can use up those frozen strawberries for this sweet drink.
Try a Strawberry Lassi
If you’re interested in something other than smoothies for your overabundance of strawberries, try a lassi. These Indian yogurt-based drinks have smoothie-like consistency and offers a unique twist on the drink we’re used to in popular health food culture. Lassis traditionally use water buffalo milk yogurt, which most of us don’t have access to, but you can use other yogurt options. Then combine the yogurt with spices like cardamom or cumin, and fruit. You’ll find plenty of intriguing recipes online for ideas.
Whip Up Some Daiquiris
One popular way to use either frozen or fresh strawberries is in daiquiris. They’re easy, only require a few ingredients, and can quickly use up those berries, particularly if you’ve got a party over for drinks. All you need is sugar, macerated strawberries (processed), ice, vodka or grappa, and fresh strawberries to garnish.
Or check out this recipe for a rum variation.
Make Your Own Strawberry Milk
You might think of strawberry milk as something to grab from the convenience store, but you can actually make your own, too. A sieve and food processor at the only tools you’ll need, with your milk base (dairy, almond, or other), and strawberry juice. Process the berries together with sugar, squeeze out the fluid (and save the puree for other things!), sieve, and combine with the milk. In no time at all, you’ve got that delicious fruity milk.
Enjoy strawberry milk straight up, add to mocktails and cocktails, or make a smoothie or two.
Make Strawberry Wine
Head over to Practical Self-Reliance for a great strawberry wine recipe to make at home. You’ll just need 4 to 5 pounds of strawberries, sugar, acid blend and tannin, yeast, and pectin enzyme. You’ll follow the recipe and wind up with delicious wine in just 2 weeks.
Strawberry Desserts Are Calling!
What would a fruit harvest be without a plethora of desserts? These unique and tasty ideas will get the wheels turning and those (strawberry) juices flowing.
Create Strawberry Bread Pudding
For a day-ahead dessert, consider giving that bread pudding a twist. With just strawberries, cinnamon, eggs, honey, double cream, and bread, you’ve got the perfect summer dessert without the hassle of a pie. Or try this classic easy bread pudding with strawberries for a flavorful punch.
Bake Up Some Strawberry Crumble
Another, easy and delicious dessert for using up all those extras strawberries is this tasty strawberry crumble from A Couple Cooks. The strawberry filling features a little orange zest and vanilla to bring out the flavor without taking away from that berry blast of goodness. Combine oats, walnuts, and other tasty ingredients to create this easy dish. Then, top the dessert with ice cream or whipped cream and serve it up.
Strawberry Hand Pies
With a few simple baking staples, fruit, and strawberry jam, make up these delicious hand pies with your abundance. They’re easy, fast, and oh, so delicious, without all the hassle of making standard pie crusts and the long wait some recipes call for.
Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Or, for a healthy dessert, whip up a batch of this amazing frozen yogurt with strawberries. Just a Taste offers a simple, fast recipe for a 5-mintute batch, plus freeze time. You’ll need the fruit, honey, plain yogurt, and some lemon juice. That’s it!
Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls
For a twist on a classic recipe, try these cinnamon rolls from Sprinkle Some Sugar. You’ll just need some standard recipe ingredients like yeast, milk, and sugar, plus those beautiful jewel-toned berries from the garden. Then, top them with the decadent cream cheese frosting for that extra wow factor.
Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs
For another tasty twist on a classic dessert, try these strawberry shortcake kabobs from Sugar Apron. Using just a few simple ingredients, like strawberries, white cake mix, and white chocolate chips, these are decadent and delicious.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © MarcoFood/Shutterstock.com
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