Strawberries are my favorite fruit and judging by how many the kids eat I would suspect it is their favorite. Or maybe they were just desperate for fruit other than apples? Either way we have consumed a lot of strawberries in this house. We also managed to put some in the freezer, quite a bit actually since I have purchased 100lbs, give or take some. It’s also pretty inexpensive to purchase strawberries in season to use for later. I spent less then $1.50 per pound of strawberry.
Strawberries freeze well. Once out of the freezer you can use them in smoothies (with some milk kefir and bananas for a probiotic rich smoothie that your kids will adore), muffins, pancakes, yogurt, and more! My freezer method was simple. I washed them well — actually soaked in vinegar water for a bit. Then I removed the hull and placed not touching on a parchment or silpat cover baking sheet to flash freeze for a few hours before putting into freezer bags. Worked perfectly so that I can get just the right amount out when I need them.
I also froze some chopped strawberries and pureed strawberries (both take a bit less freezer space, but you have to use the whole bag once defrosted) and I juiced some strawberries and froze the juice. Mainly to use in some gummies for Ladybug — I’ll get that recipe posted soon!
The Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries have more than 100% of your daily value of vitamin C in one cup. They also contain manganese, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and omega-3 fats at 4%-30% of your daily value. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants and have been show to have cardiovascular benefits and help regulate blood sugar. An excellent source of nutrition!One important thing about budgeting is to be sure you’re getting plenty of good nutrients for every dollar you spend — here you are!
Jam, of course!
Later this week I’m going to share a honey whole wheat strawberry shortcake cake, but today I’m going to tell you another way to preserve strawberries — Honey Strawberry Jam! Unlike the store bought versions if you were writing an ingredient list for this jam your first ingredient would be strawberries! You would also know exactly what is in all the ingredients. In the past I have bought pectin from the store and used it and sugar to make jam. I knew what was in it (well what exactly is in some of that pectin?), but it’s first ingredient would have still been sugar! All that sugar really isn’t necessary. Due to the kid’s corn allergies I made homemade pectin this year. It was very frugal and nice not to just throw away apple peels anyways! If you prefer to buy some there is a natural (and possibly corn free, but tread carefully) option that allows you to use less sugar you can find here. You’ll need to follow the instructions on the box for how to use this pectin though as I haven’t used it. You should also be able to grate (including the peels, no core) two small unripe apples and add to the below recipe in place of the homemade pectin.
Honey Strawberry Jam
This jam is of course made with honey. I found that the flavor of strawberries and honey mixes in a delightful way. Be sure you’re using good tasting honey, the flavor definitely comes out. The texture isn’t quite as “jelled” as store bought jam but it’s a good thick texture if cooked long enough with a delicious flavor (my first attempts were more runny and I have those frozen to use flavoring homemade yogurt — I found that low sugar (honey) jam requires both the homemade pectin and long cooking time).
- 8 cups strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
- 2 cups homemade pectin or 2 unripe apples (haven’t tried this method but should work equally well, let me know if you try it!)
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Put all ingredients in a large pot. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for about 30 minutes until the strawberries are softened, be sure to stir often. Then either use a potato masher to smash the strawberries or transfer the chunks to a blender or food processor to smash them and then put them back.
After this turn the heat up just a little bit and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat to medium. Please stir often, the honey can burn easily. Cook for about 3-4 hours at this temp, length of cooking time depends on how thick you want it. I would stir it at least every 10 minutes – setting a timer is a good idea (don’t ask me how I know). Put a plate in the fridge or freezer to chill. Remove and place a small drop of your jam on it and allow it to cool, this will let you see how thick it is since it won’t firm up all the way until chilled.
Once done transfer to freezer safe jars (Ball makes a half pint that is freezer safe and the perfect size for jam), allow to cool, and store in the freezer. This recipe made 5 half pint jars.