Strawberries: food tip

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient

STRAWBERRY TIPS

Fresh is best. However, with Oregon's fresh strawberry season lasting six weeks or less, freezing is a way to enjoy the flavor of these choice berries all year. If you have ever frozen strawberries individually on a cookie sheet without sugar, you know that when they are thawed the color is dull, they get mushy and they lack the flavor of the fresh berry. Don't throw them away; eat them in the partially frozen state or use them for jam, jelly or syrup. The following freezing methods will ensure the best quality in frozen strawberries.

SELECTING BERRIES The first step in getting a good frozen product is to use fully ripe, firm, freshly picked berries. Strawberries should be entirely deep red (not greenish), plump and look moist; they should not be soft or bruised. The best strawberries have a full, sweet scent. Sort through the berries and remove any damaged or moldy fruit. Obviously, picking your own and getting them into the freezer within a few hours is ideal.

BERRY PREPARATION Do not take off the green hull until the berries are washed; the hulls prevent water from diluting flavor and breaking down the texture inside the berries. Wash berries a few at a time in cold water, gently lift out of water and drain. Remove hulls and leave berries whole or slice; store using one of the following methods.

LUNCH-BOX BERRIES The addition of pectin and a small amount of sugar helps the berries retain their shape and color. Use 1 gallon whole strawberries, 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons powdered pectin. Wash, remove hulls and slice strawberries. Mix sugar and pectin together and stir gently into berries; let stand 10 minutes for sugar to dissolve and juices to form. Plaace in freezer containers, leaving ½-inch head space; freeze. Makes about 6 pints.

STRAWBERRIES IN PECTIN SYRUP Combine 1 package powdered pectin and 3-½ cups water; bring to a boil. Add 1-½ cups granulated sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature. Carefully dip selected whole berries in syrup and freeze on cookie sheet. Pack berries into containers. Or pack sliced or whole fruit into containers and cover with pectin syrup. Freeze immediately. This is enough syrup for about 1 gallon of berries or 8 pints.

FREEZING BERRIES WITHOUT PECTIN For each quart of hulled strawberries (whole, halved, sliced or lightly crushed), use ¼ to ¾ cup granulated sugar, depending on the desired sweetness. Place the berries in a shallow pan, sprinkle with the sugar and let berries sit for 10 to 15 minutes to draw the juices. Place in containers and freeze. If berries are sliced or crushed, leave ½-inch head space.

Makes 1 pint.

Source: Oregonian FoodDay June 6, 1995 Typos by Dorothy Flatman Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 06-14-95

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