When strawberry season rolls around we stock up in a grand way. We like to purchase enough local, organically grown strawberries to last an entire year. Sure, the fresh ones only last about a week or two, but we’ve found many ways to use strawberries so we can enjoy them even when they’re not in season. (Hint: they’re not just for eating!)
Find local strawberries
Of course, growing your own strawberries is always best, but for those of us who don’t have berry bushes, supporting a local farmer is the next best thing. If you’re still waiting on strawberry season in your corner of the world, use this time to start looking for a local farmer who grows them organically or without harmful pesticides. After all, strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list. This means they are one of the most contaminated types of produce grown. Their soft, porous flesh allows them to absorb anything sprayed on them. This means you’ll be consuming anything the berries are sprayed with, despite your best rinsing efforts.
You can browse local Farmer’s Markets and talk to farmers about how their berries are grown, or you can check Local Harvest to find a farmer near you.
10 Ways to use strawberries
1. Strawberry Shortcake
No summer would be complete without fresh strawberry shortcake. There are many ways to prepare this berry-laden dessert, but this is our favorite way to make it.
2. Whiten Your Teeth
I know what you’re thinking…sounds counterintuitive to whiten teeth with something that stains most surfaces, right? Here’s the science – strawberries contain malic acid, which can help remove stains on teeth.
To whiten your teeth naturally, simply combine one smashed strawberry with ½ teaspoon baking soda (and ½ teaspoon optional xylitol for added sweetness), and brush teeth with the mixture for several minutes. Allow the strawberry paste to remain on teeth for about 5 minutes, then rinse well with water and brush with your usual toothpaste if desired.
Note: Because malic acid can be harsh on tooth enamel, you should not use this strawberry whitening paste more than once or twice per month.
3. Strawberry Jam
For me, it’s all about the strawberry jam. There is nothing quite like the flavor of a homemade, ooey-gooey, sweet strawberry jam on fresh bread. Since most recipes call for sickening amounts of sugar, how about using honey to sweeten your homemade jam this year? We make several jars of freezer jam to sustain our jam cravings for almost an entire year.
Purchasing dehydrated fruit can be expensive, but it’s so easy to do at home. Have dried strawberries to munch on all year by dehydrating some of them. Just slice and dry in your oven or in a dehydrator. Directions and tips can be found here.
5. Strawberry Pie
Although I’m usually too lazy to deal with making pie crust, strawberry pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts. While my fridge is overflowing with berries, I need to motivate myself to make this delicious-looking recipe.
6. Strawberries and cream or strawberry ice cream
Mix up a little fresh whipped cream and toss a dollop onto a few berries for a simple dessert. If ice cream sounds better, there are countless recipes out there for strawberry ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker you may want to try this recipe – sweetened with maple syrup so you’re not feeding your family tons of refined sugar! We don’t have an ice cream maker, so we use our Vitamix (which is much faster). We toss in 1 cup of raw milk, 2 cups of frozen strawberries, ½ cup maple syrup, and a splash of homemade vanilla extract. Blend on high for about a minute or less, and you have warp speed strawberry ice cream.
7. Real Strawberry Fruit Snacks
8. Strawberry Fruit Leather
Want something your kids will love to unroll? Learn how to make fruit leathers here, and control the ingredients to make this a healthful strawberry snack. You can use a dehydrator (find the best ones here) or a conventional oven.
9. Freeze Strawberries For Later Use
I will admit that most of my strawberries end up being frozen. That’s what happens when you buy over 20 pounds and realize, “Uh…something needs to be done with all these berries now.” It’s wonderful though, because I can freeze them and take my time thinking about how to use all of them.
Instructions for freezing: Wash and hull berries. Leave whole or cut into halves or quarters. (I cut mine into pieces so there is less air space between berries when frozen.) Spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer berries to zip-top freezer bags or air-tight containers and return to the freezer.
10. Face Mask
Strawberries contain alpha-hydroxy acid, the same ingredient found in many anti-aging serums and expensive moisturizers. This ingredient is used to exfoliate dead skin, improve your skin’s collagen production, and help diminish fine lines to give a more youthful appearance. (source) You can make a DIY Strawberry Face Mask with natural ingredients to achieve a bright, youthful glow!
Brightening Strawberry Face Mask
- 2 tablespoons honey, warmed (ultra-moisturizing and its antimicrobial properties can heal blemishes and acne)
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (the lactic acid in yogurt helps hydrate and exfoliate skin, and also brightens dull skin)
- 2-3 whole strawberries, mashed (contains alpha hydroxy acid to help slough off dead skin)
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to blend. Spread mask over face in a thin layer and leave on for 15 – 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat face dry.
Take advantage of this season’s strawberry harvest and try something new with them! What’s your favorite use for in-season strawberries?