On the farm this year, we’ve introduced Avaleigh’s Famous Strawberry Shortcake to our food offerings. And it’s put us in the strawberry mood!
Some recipes call for angel food cake, but this one has buttery pound cake topped with sweet strawberries and whipped cream. You can add a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream for a little extra richness. It’s so good that it got us thinking—what else should we do with fresh strawberries this spring and summer?
Uses For Ripe Strawberries
Crisp, ripe strawberries fresh off the vine are one of our favorite summer treats. They’re high in vitamin C, potassium, and folate. They’re also a great source of antioxidants, which can help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals.
We’d like to say that our high strawberry intake is because we’re so health conscious…but really, they just taste darn good.
Got a few fresh pints lying around? Try one of these ideas!
Strawberry Fruit Leather
If you have fond memories of Fruit Roll-Ups or Fruit by the Foot, you’ll love their grown-up cousin. Fruit leather made from fresh strawberries often gets added sweetness from honey, and a tart tang from fresh lemon.
You can make this in a food dehydrator, or in a conventional oven on the lowest heat setting. Try this recipe by Ree Drummond!
Raspberry vinaigrette gets a lot of press, but did you know strawberries make a great salad topper, too?
Start by whisking a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and three tablespoons of extra version olive oil together. Pour it over a cup of sliced strawberries, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Then, pour your strawberry mixture plus 1 tablespoon honey and a sprinkle of salt and pepper into your blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add a little more salt and pepper if necessary, and you’re done!
Drizzle over a tasty summer salad and enjoy.
Fruit and Cheese Board
Why complicate things? Strawberries are a natural addition to a fruit and cheese board. Supplement your fruit with other berries, like raspberries and blackberries. Add an array of salty cheeses like cheddar, brie, and goat cheese.
Then you can add snackable extras, like crackers, almonds or other nuts, drizzled honey or fresh honeycomb, and jam. Bring your board outside for a perfect summer picnic.
Uses For Overripe Strawberries
Ripe strawberries are slightly crisp and not overly sweet. Once they get overripe, their texture starts to get less firm, and the sugars develop further. But as long as they’re not mushy or moldy, they’re still plenty edible!
Overripe strawberries still have plenty of life left, so try one of these ideas to get every last bit of flavor out of strawberry season.
Whether you’re making family-friendly fruit and spinach smoothies, or adult-only strawberry daiquiris, overripe fruit is the perfect ingredient. It’s going to be blended anyway, so the texture doesn’t matter. And the extra sweetness will add more flavor to your drink.
Muffins and Baked Goods
Cooked fruit loses its crisp texture, which makes it a great candidate for strawberries that are a bit past their ideal date. In fact, the richer flavor will help your fruit to hold its own inside a whole wheat muffin or a fruit crumb cake.
Strawberry Jam or Jelly
A big batch of strawberry jam or jelly will let you enjoy this summer flavor all year long. This is an especially good way to use up your garden strawberries when you have too many to possibly eat.
Save your preserves in small individual pots to save for the winter or give out as gifts for your friends. Here’s a simple, three-ingredient recipe for strawberry jam that you can make without any fancy equipment.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Another easy way to preserve those berries is homemade ice cream. This is another place where your fruit will probably hit the blender, so ultra-firm fruit isn’t a requirement.
You will need an ice cream maker to make your own, but we think that’s a worthwhile investment.
Strawberry Face Mask
How about applying those helpful antioxidants right to your skin? A face mask made from strawberries may help keep your complexion bright. Plus, it will smell awfully nice.
Using overripe berries will prevent your mask from being too liquidy, since older fruit has less moisture inside.
Mash 2 to 3 strawberries with a fork until it makes a pulp. Add a tablespoon of raw honey, and stir until it forms a paste. Massage the mask into your face for a minute or two, and let it rest for 10-15 more minutes.
Rinse off with warm water and glow!
Fresh vs. Frozen
Strawberry season in Texas only lasts from late February to early May. So if your local farmers market is clean out, you’ll have to get non-local berries from the grocery store.
Unfortunately, out-of-season berries can be hit or miss as far as flavor goes.
Our suggestion? Skip the fresh berries and go frozen instead. These berries will still retain their in-season flavor, and are perfect for smoothies, cocktails, and ice cream!
If You’re in a Berry Mood…
After all that berry talk, you’re probably hankering for some of the sweet stuff right now.
Come see us at the Austin Spring Festival through May 31, 2021 for outdoor fun, live entertainment, and Avaleigh’s Famous Strawberry Shortcake!