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  • Writer's pictureKatherine

8 Unique Ways to Use Strawberries

It's strawberry season here in South Carolina, which is always a reason to celebrate!

Strawberries are like the opening games to fruit season in SC! They are sweet, juicy and packed full of nutrients making them the perfect fruit to enjoy with the spring weather. Not to mention,

picking strawberries is a right of passage for every southerner in springtime-- because your Instagram profile is not complete without cute pictures of you and your family picking strawberries in the muddy fields!



This year, I was able to secure some early strawberries from a few local farms all over SC. They have been so delicious and I have been throwing strawberries in just about everything I can imagine! While I am sure that you will be enjoying your traditional strawberry recipes, I wanted to list out a few unconventional ways to use up all of those flavorful berries! Seriously, don't be afraid to get too many strawberries because there are so many great ways to enjoy them!


Drinks

I have been on a strawberry margarita kick this year! It's the perfect drink to enjoy with the

changing weather and so simple to make! Just take some sliced, fresh strawberries and combine them in your glass with a lime then muddle until they are nice and mushy. Once, you do that just build your regular margarita on top! It's festive and fun. You can take most alcoholic beverages and add a splash of strawberry to liven things up a bit (strawberry vodka tonic anyone, or how about strawberry whiskey sour?)


If you want to get more professional with your cocktails, mocktails and other beverages try making a strawberry simple syrup. All you need is some honey, lemon juice and sliced strawberries combined in a bowl. Let that sit overnight in the fridge and the next day all of the juices should have combined to create a thick, sweet syrup with strawberry chucks! You can use that to sweeten and flavor all kinds of drinks!


I even used my strawberry simple syrup to brew my second ferment kombucha! Yep,

strawberries can be great for fermented drinks as well! If you brew your own kombucha, mead or beer, strawberries can add a fun flavor to your end product. Get creative and have some fun playing around with the different flavors! Another fun springtime drink is homemade strawberry lemonade! Skip the powdered stuff in the grocery store and make your own refreshing lemonade with fresh strawberries, lemons and honey!



Sauces and Dressings

This is another great one! It's so easy to make a sauce or dressing from strawberries (or any berry for that matter). Wash and dry the strawberries as you normally would, chop them up and throw them in a pot. Add your sauce ingredients like balsamic vinegar, honey and herbs then cook it down until it makes a thick sauce.


You can use it on chicken, pork or goat (pictured right). I took these tender goat steaks and marinated them for a while in the fridge in some of my homemade strawberry balsamic sauce then seared each side gently for a few minutes. I topped them with the remaining sauce and serve! The flavors are incredible! It's a must try on my list.


Lately, with 2 kids under 4 life has been a little hectic and cooking from scratch like the strawberry balsamic has proven to be difficult. I've started to take strawberry jam, balsamic vinegar and herbs and create a quick and easy dressing for salad and marinade for pork chops. It is just fabulous. We always have plenty of jams and jellies on hand that we have been gifted from family. Those kind of gifts have proven to be some of our favorites because they are so dang versatile! So, next time you get gifted a jar a jam, rejoice and start planning all the cool ways you can use it!


Salads

Does anything say spring more than a bed of fresh greens topped with juicy red strawberries? YUM! You can pair it with goat cheese, feta or another light cheese for a sweet and savory flavor profile. Add chopped walnuts or pecans to give it an earthy, nutty taste and pair with a tangy balsamic dressing!


This week I harvested some greens from my garden, topped it with fresh sugar snap peas, field fresh strawberries, hemp seeds, bee pollen. To bring the whole salad together, I dreamed up this creamy strawberry balsamic dressing that consisted of adding a little mayo to my strawberry balsamic. It was tangy, creamy and paired perfectly with all of the goodness on that salad!


Breads


These were a huge hit in my family last year! Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes were more like sweet biscuits but they made for a delicious breakfast. You can add strawberries to sweet loaf breads, or top pound cake with them. During one of my pre kid years, I made a from scratch chocolate strawberry cake that was absolutely divine! Layers of moist chocolate cake are held together by creamy homemade strawberry ice cream, filled with chunks of perfectly ripe strawberries. Covered in a rich chocolate icing then topped with bountiful fresh strawberries it is the definition of a decadent dessert! I highly recommend giving this recipe a try if you have some free time this summer!


Soap

Did you know that you could add fresh fruit to soaps!? I didn't either until I came across some amazing soap recipes in the Soapmaking Success Course by The Nerdy Farm Wife blog! I just love the idea of being able to incorporate the antioxidant properties of fresh fruit into body soap made at home! I've also seen a homemade serum that uses pureed strawberries and jojoba oil, then rub in into the skin and feel the rich benefits seeping into your skin! Which beauty recipe will you try?


Dried

Dried strawberries are a great addition to granola, cereal, rice crispy treats and even on top of ice cream! With the right gear, you can make dried fruits and vegetables in your downtime and reap the rewards of this seasonal delight all year long. Dehydrating fruit is a great addition to your pantry items as well!


I still am using a very inexpensive, Ronco 5 tray dehydrator that we purchased to experiment with drying fruit for the farm. I have probably had it for 5+ years and use it every season to dehydrate herbs, fruit and vegetables from the garden! For $40 it has been a workhorse in my kitchen that was not a huge investment up front! If your interested in purchasing this particular dehydrator, I've linked the amazon site above and will earn a small commission on your purchase.



Jams and Jellies

Jams are a favorite of mine. In fact, my husband and I have gone from dreading getting jams for holidays/special events years ago to looking forward to getting that special treat at every holiday! I now use jams and jellies in the kitchen for so many things from marinades for meat to toppings for cookies! So if your thinking that jam is just for smearing on bread, you might want to think again! Its the perfect base for sweet and tangy salad dressings, thumbprint cookies, marinades for pork, and toppings for ice cream! Don't count out a delicious jar of strawberry jam next time.



Smoothies


This is actually a normal use of strawberries for most people. Smoothies are a healthy and delicious way to get tons of nutrition packed into one tasty meal. Think about it, if you sat down to eat all of that fruit and veggie that you packed in your smoothies, could you do it? Not most, which is why it is important to make sure that it is jam packed full of nutrient dense produce instead of sugary fillers like yogurt and honey. I like to add about 4 cups of fruit and 2 cups of greens to each smoothie. They are never beautiful colors like you see on the gram, but I know that they loaded with nutrients to fuel my families bodies!




And there you have it friends, a list of unique ways that you can use up all those local strawberries you've purchased. Never be scared of purchasing too much local food, there is always some amazing way to use it all up!

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