Yikes, over three weeks since my last post! And here I am, without a stitch of stitching in this one… I’ll remedy that next time, I promise!
Ah, strawberries… a sure sign that spring has arrived. What’s that? Oh yeah, I realize that it’s now late summer here. I’ve never been accused of being the early bird. But the good news is that in-season strawberries are still available in many places, and if you can get your hands on some, here’s a great way to fix them up for freezing so that you can enjoy them all year long. If they’re not in season as you’re reading this, surely they will be again one day. ;~)
All credit for this idea goes to Alton Brown, and it’s only one of his many brilliant ways to turn kitchen tools into multi-taskers. In case you haven’t seen this one, I threw together a quick tutorial.
Begin with fresh strawberries, rinsed and drained. Pinch off the leaves.
Hold an open-star pastry tip in your dominant hand with your index finger positioned in the wide end of the tip. (I think Ateco #824 is about perfect… #825 for really big berries.) Insert the tip into the stem end of the strawberry (the part you want to remove). Twist, then tilt the tip slightly and remove it. The hull should come with it.
Lay out the strawberries on a baking sheet. Pop them into the freezer for a few hours. When you have strawberry ice rocks, dump them in a zipper freezer bag. Use all year long for smoothies, jam, quick breads, muffins, pies, cobblers, sauce…
It may not work perfectly the first time, but give it a couple of tries. It’s all in the wrist. Pretty soon it will look like this if someone tries to grab a picture of you preparing your berries for the freezer:
With this method, I prepped 4 pounds of strawberries for the freezer in about 20 minutes, including taking photos. Plus, there’s way less waste than if you slice off the top. (Don’t worry Mom, there’s still lots of stuff for the chickens, see?)
In an effort to incorporate a bit of doing my pinning, here’s a recipe for strawberry oatmeal muffins that I made recently. Muffins aren’t the sexiest category of baked goods, but they’re a favorite of mine. Baked goods for breakfast, lots of leftovers, fruity (usually), yummy, what’s not to love? Well, there’s actually a couple of notable things not to love in many recipes I’ve tried: 1) flavor, and 2) texture. So many muffin recipes fall short on one or both of these. Not this one! I was intrigued by the inclusion of balsamic vinegar and black pepper, neither of which I’d ever used in a muffin. These elements aren’t obvious in the final product, but they give it a depth that definitely fills the flavor requirement. The inclusion of butter, yogurt, and plenty of leavening provide just the right texture as well. Get the recipe.