Last night I saw people buying strawberries – the huge ones at inflated prices that taste of nothing. In my own plot the bees are busy and we’ll be picking the fruit in about three weeks time – and they will taste so wonderful you can’t believe it.
On a trip to France some years ago we had coffee with friends in their beautiful old house in the Charante valley. It was early September, bees buzzed and flowers bloomed and the air was warm and sultry.
We ate scones with strawberries and Sophie told me of the long hot summer they had had. The house is well outside the village, and set back from the road, a peaceful, cool house with ancient, thick walls. One day while working in the kitchen she heard a noise she couldn’t place. She looked out, but couldn’t see anything. The noise persisted, not loud, just a gentle simmering sort of sound. She thought that maybe a cat had had kittens, but it was the wrong time of year for that.
When her son came home from school he went out to investigate. At first he found nothing, then he began to laugh – ‘It’s the strawberries. They are cooking’. And so they were – which is why we were eating scones with strawberries from the freezer.
The urban myth is that you can’t freeze strawberries, but it is perfectly possible. No, they won’t be the same as fresh ones, but neither will they be tasteless mush. Two methods that I’ve tried work. If you don’t have too many place them on trays in the freezer with a little space between each berry. When they are frozen solod pack them in boxes and return them to the freezer. These are fine for decorating a cheesecake or filling a sponge.
The second method is for when you have a glut. Layer them in boxes and pour granulated sugar over each layer until you can’t see the berries. This time it doesn’t matter if the fruit touch as long as you don’t squeeze too many in. I’ve used these later for jam making. Just remove the fruit, weigh the sugar that is left in the boxes and use that for your jam – enjoy!
What a true statement: "huge ones at inflated prices that taste of nothing." I remember picking small strawberries from a neighboring field and they were juicy & delicious. Cute article, well written, and brings back memories of young & carefree days.