Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A surplus of strawberries (and what to do with them)

Like lots of other families in Perth we went strawberry picking in October. There are a bunch of different farms to choose from (this website lists a range of Perth fruit-picking options) but we went to one at Lot 424 Badgerup Road, Gnangara. I don't think it has a name, but it is easy to find as it is behind Duva Continental Deli.*

A friend commented that the farm we went to looked preferable to the one she visited as it had straw between the rows, thus reducing the dust and dirt factor. Even with the straw we still got pretty filthy! The combination of dirt and sticky red juice meant I was glad we had a large stack of baby wipes and wished we had spare water. There are no toilets and nowhere to wash hands, although you can buy drinks and food at the deli.

The farm charged $5 a tray and a tray held about 3kg. With two adults and two "helpers" we picked three trays. We then had 9kg of strawberries to dispose of - quickly! They were extremely ripe, and even being careful to pick them with the stalks on (which apparently extends their durability) it was clear they weren't going to last more than a few days in the fridge.

Here is what I did to use them all up:

  • Strawberry sauce for stirring through yoghurt, topping icecream or adding to smoothies: hull, wash and halve any biggies. Either blitz in the microwave for about two minutes or cook on low heat in a saucepan with a lid until they are very soft. You can add sugar if you want - these were so sweet I added about a teaspoon per cup. Then whizz with a handheld blender. Freeze the resulting sauce in baby food trays (or ice cube trays) and then store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
  • Strawberry sorbet: I used this recipe from Epicurious but reduced the sugar given how ripe the fruit was. I used an icecream maker to freeze it but it still came out very soft - it was better after a couple of hours in the freezer.
  • Strawberry fruit leather: following this recipe from the Organised Housewife. I made some with sugar and some without. I strained the seeds from one batch but couldn't be bothered for the rest. It was a bit of a pain as it took so long to cook, and it edges of mine cooked before the middle, making it difficult to judge when to take it out. However it was extremely tasty - it had that lovely sweet-sour tang, and both E and C gobbled it up.
  • Froze some whole for when strawberries are out of season: I washed, hulled and halved them, then laid them in a single layer on a tray in the freezer until sufficiently frozen that they wouldn't stick together. I then moved them into ziplock bags. They won't be good on their own but they will be fine for smoothies, in yoghurt, or for baking.
  • We ate plenty fresh and gave some away. Amazingly, given the ridiculous pile we had to start with that got rid of all of them bar a cereal bowl which sat in the fridge mocking me for several days until I gave up and fed it to the worms.
We really enjoyed the outing and the luxury of more fruit than I initially thought it possible to use up. We will gladly return next year.

* some but not all of the strawberry farms are advertised as being open in November. Check before you go.

1 comment:

katef said...

Oh my goodness! Look at all those strawberries!!!

We grow our own and over the years have collected quite a big bed of strawberries. If we get good rain this winter and spring I'll stealing some of your ideas!

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