We pick it all. If we don't grown it, we're out there in the field somewhere. Of course-I grab my helpers. I hope in the future, they'll look back and remember each season, and what was special about it. Strawberries are the first of the summer berries to become ripe, and sadly, their season is fast leaving us. Just as quickly as they come, strawberries also loose their nutritional benefits. Strawberries, like all berries, are highly perishable. The Vitamin C that make them powerhouses, is lost as the strawberries sit around. It's best to consume them as quickly as possible. If you can't possibly eat all you've received from a CSA (community supported agriculture), the ones you and your family picked, or the farmer's market (we know they looked so good Saturday morning), it's best to freeze them.
Freezing berries captures the nutritional benefits of the berries, and doesn't lead to the level of loss like sitting in the fridge. Per cup, strawberries pack in 113% of Vitamin C needs! Eating them fresh is best. However, I love freezing them for year-round enjoyment. The vitamin C in the berries is what provides the amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that strawberries provide. They also have been shown to boost heart health, as well as maintain blood sugar levels. You might think, but berries are so sweet, how can they lower blood sugar? Berries are low-glycemic. Their sugar levels and fiber prevent a spike in blood sugar, making them a great snack for diabetics (and all people).
We go picking in an organic field, since berries are some of the most sprayed foods, and well, I just hate chemicals all over my food! This year the berries weren't the best, because we had too much rain once the berries had set on the plants. Because of this, I decided to turn these into jam. Typical jam uses 1 cup of sugar per 1 cup of fruit!!! That is just maddess! I always searched for a pectin that allowed me to use less sugar, and I've found one without making the jam taste fake. If you're interested in learning how to make jam, check out my link for Strawberry Lemon Jam. I made it using honey & date paste, but if you're vegan, swap out the honey for maple syrup, agave, or all date paste.
Enjoy berry season!
For how to can jam: Here's my youtube video