Written by Chris
I am embarrassed to admit, I have never been strawberry picking – well, up until about a month ago that is. I purchase most of my produce at Farmers’ Markets, but had never picked a strawberry. Not a single one!
To remedy this, my kids and I recently visited our local farm and finally picked our own strawberries – what a great time we had in the fields!
Strawberries are super sweet, affordable, and nutritious – even if you can’t pick your own like we did, you’ll find pints and quarts of them at your local produce stands and/or Farmers’ Markets. Plus you can find seas of them in the produce aisle in your local grocery store.
A few strawberry tips:
- Look for strawberries that are bright red (with no white or green around the stem), fragrant, and plump, with no soft spots.
- In stores, try to choose locally grown strawberries during the harvest season since they are sweeter and juicier.
- Strawberries are available year-round in many regions of the country, with the peak season from April to July.
- Use strawberries as soon as possible as they ripen no further once picked. Leave the caps on the strawberries until ready to eat or use in your recipes. Don’t wash them until you are ready to eat or use them either. Store in the refrigerator uncovered.
- If you end up with far too many strawberries as we did, you can freeze them. Wash the strawberries, hull with a paring knife, spread on a baking sheet, freeze for 4 hours, then slide into freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months.
So what did we make with all these fresh picked strawberries? Smoothies and popsicles initially, and then we moved on to Berry Delicious Juice Snacks, shown at top of post. Five cups of berries/fruit are used. Love that! I added a little more gelatin than usual to make them extra firm so that they would hold up well in my kids’ lunch boxes.
Ingredients needed for 12 servings:
- 5 envelopes (7 grams each) unflavored gelatin
- 4 cups Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice, divided
- 1 container (16 ounces) strawberries, washed, tops discarded and sliced (3 cups total)
- 1 container (6 ounces) fresh blueberries (1 cup total)
- 1 can (15 ounces) no sugar added mandarin oranges, drained
- Decorative cookie cutters (we used butterflies and hearts, but you could use eggs or chicks for Easter)
Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup Juicy Juice in large bowl.
Heat remaining 3 cups Juicy Juice in microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 3 minutes or until piping hot. Carefully pour over gelatin mixture; stir with whisk to dissolve. Pour mixture into 13 x 9-inch baking dish or jelly-roll pan large enough to accommodate mixture.
Add berries and oranges to dish, as my daughter is showing above. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.
Using cookie cutters, cut into cute shapes.
Then enjoy! This is my daughter above enjoying the fruits of her labor.
We picked a lot of strawberries. A lot! So I also made this Strawberry & Arugula Salad with Cocoa-Spiced Pecans. This has become a test kitchen favorite! Since not all of the cocoa-spiced pecans are used in this salad recipe, we like to munch on them throughout the work week.
Ingredients needed for 5 servings:
- Parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray
- 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ancho chile powder
- 4 cups pecan halves
STRAWBERRY & ARUGULA SALAD
- 1 container (5.3 ounces) soft goat’s milk cheese
- 2 1/2 cups halved or quartered strawberries
- About 2/3 cup Cocoa-Spiced Pecans
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic syrup*
- 2 1/2 cups arugula, washed and dried
Directions for Cocoa-Spiced Pecans:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together egg white, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in medium bowl. Stir in nuts; stir until completely coated. Pour nuts onto prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer, shown above.
Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven. Using spatula, stir and separate nuts. Reduce oven temperature to 250° F and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet on wire rack, then break into pieces.
Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 4 cups. You will need just a portion of these nuts for the salad. Eat the others out of hand. They make a delicious snack!
Directions for Strawberry & Arugula Salad:
Place about 2 tablespoons goat cheese in the center of each of 5 salad plates (I like to whip the goat cheese with a whisk, and then place a dollop onto the plate). Scatter about ½ cup strawberries and 2 tablespoons cocoa-spiced pecans around. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with syrup. Top each with a handful (about ½ cup) arugula.
*If you can’t find balsamic syrup, you can make your own reduction by boiling balsamic vinegar until reduced by half. Cool completely before using.
You can also use spinach in place of arugula, as shown above.
Mark my words, you will return for seconds. So you might want to double the salad ingredients. Perhaps it’s something with the cocoa in the pecans and the goat cheese; this chocolate and goat cheese combination is surprisingly good.
Check back soon for more delicious recipes!
- Berry Delicious Juice Snacks
- Strawberry & Arugula Salad with Cocoa-Spiced Pecans
- Get a Juicy Juice coupon
- Get a Toll House coupon
Related strawberry recipes:
|Strawberry Tea Sandwiches||Chocolate-Dipped Fruit Kabobs|