Big juicy springtime strawberries are so sweet and delicious that they are difficult to resist.
Bright red and loaded with antioxidants there really is no reason to hold yourself back. If you don't grow your own berries then purchase plenty when they are on sale and freeze them for future use.
Fresh strawberries will begin losing their vitamins and mineral content shortly after picking so quickly preserving the fruit is the best way to lock in all that delicious goodness.
Whenever possible try to get your berries into the freezer within two days of picking or they begin to lose their nutritional value. Freezing the berries will help keep their vitamin C, minerals, and healthy phytochemicals at their peek for a much longer time.
Refreshingly Delicious Strawberries are a Tasty Spring Treat
High in nutrition and low in calories strawberries are one of nature's tastiest treasures. There are the tiny sweet wild strawberries that grow in most rural areas to the larger sized commercially grown strawberries.
These bright red berries net the U.S. Strawberry industry over 1.2 billion dollars a year. That adds up to a whole lot of strawberries.
Because berries keep best in a jarred or frozen state most of these berries wind up either being eaten within a few days of being purchased or preserved in jams, jellies or freezers.
The nicest thing about freezing strawberries is that unlike vegetables there is no need to blanch or to cook the berry previous to freezing it. They freeze very well in a raw state.
Rich in Nutrition and Wonderfully Sweet
One cup of strawberries contains approximately fifty calories but will provide you with 23.24 mg of calcium, .63 mg of iron, 16.60 mg of magnesium, 31.54 mg of phosphorus, 44.82 mg of potassium, 1.16 mg of selenium, 94.12 mg of vitamin C, 29.38 mg of folate, 44.82 IU of vitamin A and one gram of protein.
That is a pretty impressive nutritional list for such a low amount of calories. These bright red berries harvest early in the spring but can be available throughout most of the summer months. When they go on sale it is really nice to stock up.
I purchased 6 pounds this week and the fresh strawberries are an absolute delight. They are so deliciously sweet that I had difficulty getting the bulk of them into the freezer.
Consider picking yourself a handful of strawberries out of the garden today or stopping by your local supermarket to pick yourself up a basket of these little red treasures. Strawberries are definitely worth including into your diet plan.
Let's Get to Work. You Will Need a Sharp Knife, Cookie Pan,
Wax Paper, Colander, and Small Bowl
Strawberries are so Easy to Package for the Freezer
There are several ways that you can choose to freeze your strawberries and the method that you choose to use is completely dependent on your tastes.
Strawberries can be frozen whole, in halves, or in chunks.They can be frozen within fruit syrup, frozen in a sugar coating, or dry (in their natural state). All methods are very simple to accomplish.
The first step is to clean the fruit by immersing it in cool water. Put your strawberries into a colander and run cold water gently over them to rinse away any dirt. Be sure not to soak the strawberries for too long as a lengthy period of time in water can reduce the nutritional value of the fruit and cause it to become mushy.
Remove any stems, leaves or flaws in the fruit with a sharp paring knife. Set fruit on either paper towel or drain racks to remove excess moisture. Use a paper towel to gently dab your strawberries dry.
Lay a Sheet of Wax Paper on Top of the Cookie Sheet
Cut Out the Stem and Any Bad Spots on the Berries
Over ripe, under ripe, and imperfect or blemished berries can be put in a bowl to eat as soon as possible.
If you are preserving your berries in halves or chunks then after the cleaning simply chop the fruit into the desired size. Place the fruit into small containers or freezing bags and with or without sugar the packages can then be deposited immediately into the freezer after filling them.
If you like whole frozen strawberries lay your cleaned strawberries side by side on the cookie sheet so that they are close but not touching one another. If you have a large freezer then you will be able to do more than one tray at a time.
As I was in no rush I did my strawberries one tray at a time in our refrigerator freezer. It took the strawberries about 2 hours to fully freeze before they could be bagged.
Freezing strawberries is the best way to insure that this fruit will maintain its rich nutritional content. Fruit will not be as firm when it is removed from the freezer but it will be nutritious and perfect for serving over ice cream, in milk shakes/smoothies, or in baking.
*It is important to note that if you were cooking your strawberries that it would reduce the vitamins and phytochemicals within them.
After Berries are Frozen They Can be Portion Into Bags
This Will be the Final Stage of Preparation
The fruit can be transferred from the cookie tray into small containers or freezer bags. The strawberries can be frozen just as they are or if you prefer a sweetened berry then add about one quarter cup of sugar per bag.
Put about 1 pound of frozen fruit into each bag. That is generally about one small basket or pint of berries.
Use a straw to draw excess air out of the bags. This will help to prevent freezer burn. Tie bags tightly.
Now you are ready to put your bags of fruit back into the freezer. It is recommended that you store the berries no longer than 2 months as the fruit will begin to slowly decrease in nutritional value after that time.
Directions for Freezing Strawberries in Sugar or Syrup
Another freezer option is to pack the strawberries in syrup. This method works especially well if you are planning on using the strawberries at a later date for baking or jam.
Create the syrup by dissolving one cup of white sugar in two cups of water.
Fill containers one half full of fruit.
Pour the cooled syrup over the packaged fruit till containers are about one third full.
Transfer these containers to your freezer section.
Strawberries generally keep well in the freezer for several months. Over time you will come to know the method that you prefer to use to freeze your strawberries.
Try This Quick and Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
Don't Forget to Compost Your Vegetable Waste
It really does not take much time or space to compost your vegetable kitchen waste. Anyone can compost. All you have to do is return your waste back to the land that it has come from.
You can compost all vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, nut shells, and a small amount of paper and cardboard. Never compost animal feces, lard, oil, grease, or meat.
If you have a yard then the process is very simple. Just dig a small hole, pop in your vegetation, and cover it with dirt. To speed up the process you can turn your pile every few days.
If you live in an apartment save up your kitchen waste in a container until you are ready to take it out to a field or wooded area to return it to Mother Nature. She'll take care of the rest.
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