Strawberry season is almost here in the Pacific Northwest. The strawberry season is very short lived. You have to take advantage of it as soon as they are ripe. For many years my children and I have driven to various U-pick strawberry fields and picked and picked these delicious berries. Usually we would pick around 100 pounds of berries. We come home hot and tired with red stained fingers but happy to have taken part in gathering a little spring time sweetness that we can enjoy all through the year.
When picking berries make sure you look for nice red plump berries. These will typically be the sweetest. Berries, unlike other fruits, do not ripen after being picked. When you get your berries home you need to process them right away. They donít do well sitting around. I start by washing the berries and then my children and I sit around the table hulling, slicing and bagging them for the freezer.
These sliced berries are packed into zip type bags, labeled and put in the freezer. Sometimes I will flash freeze the berries whole. I lay them on a cookie sheet and set them in the freezer. After they have frozen I place them in zip type bags. This makes it easy to just pull out only what I need.
There are many uses for these frozen berries. One my family loves is strawberry shortcake during the winter! Another one of our favorites is to use the berries as a topping for waffles. That is a special treat we like to enjoy throughout the year.
During the summer months I use my frozen strawberries for making smoothies. A smoothie made with goatís milk kefir or yogurt, frozen strawberries and a little honey is such a pleasure on a hot summer day.
Of course we keep lots freshly washed berries just for eating and for fresh strawberry shortcake.
I hope you are able to enjoy the pleasure of strawberry picking this year and the delicious sweetness of them throughout the rest of the year!
Super Easy Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
6 T cane juice crystals, divided
1 T baking powder
Ĺ t salt
1 cup whipping cream
Strawberries, sliced and sweetened if needed
Whipping cream that has been whipped and slightly sweetened to taste
In a bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, 4 T cane juice crystals, baking powder and salt. Mix well (if you want a lighter shortcake you can sift these ingredients together). Add whipping cream and stir gently until it starts to clump. Gather the dough together in a ball, but donít knead. Divide dough into 6 pieces and form into rounds. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 T of cane juice crystals.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Slice in half and pile on sliced strawberries and cream on the bottom half and lay top half on top of the strawberries and whip cream.
The Homestead Kitchen
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