Zero Waste Strawberry Recipes (And None of Them Are Jam)
A small miracle happened. I went to the Farmers’ Market…and found plastic-free strawberries! Oh the excitement! The elation! I haven’t bought strawberries in 4 years because I won’t buy them in plastic packaging, and let’s face it, that’s sad, because seasonal freshly picked strawberries are delicious. There was just one catch. They came in the hugest box you’d ever seen. Sold as “jamming strawberries”, there must have been the equivalent of 20 punnets there. I kid you not.
Of course, at the time it seemed like a great idea. I marched home with a massive box of jamming strawberries (which means all those berries that are misshapen, blemished, slightly too ripe, and a couple that were starting to sprout furry bits). It was only then that I realised the enormity of the task ahead: washing, chopping, planning and eating these 20 punnets of strawberries before they expire! As we all know, fresh strawberries do not last long!
Luckily for me I like a challenge, especially one that involves food. After spending a weekend with these strawberries, I have some great ideas for how to use up a glut of strawberries…without making jam.
First Things First: Freezing Strawberries Successfully
Strawberries actually freeze very well. I wouldn’t trust them not to be mushy when defrosted, but they are perfect for adding to smoothies or using in baking. The trick is not to chuck them all together in a bowl, or you’ll be left with a giant frozen mass that can’t be separated. Instead, after washing, chop into quarters and lay out on a baking sheet lined with a tea towel. Pop into the freezer for a few hours. Remove when frozen, pop into a container with a lid (I use a glass Pyrex container but a glass jar would work too) and keep in the freezer until needed.
Strawberry Sorbet (Contains raw egg)
400g strawberries, chopped and frozen
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg white
50g icing (superfine) sugar
You will need a high-powered blender or food processor for best results.
Blend ice, frozen strawberries lemon juice and icing sugar together until smooth. The smoother it is, the less ice crystals will remain – however the longer you blend, the more it will heat up (and melt). If your blender is struggling, pop the jug into the freezer to cool and resume once refrozen.
For best results, use a whisk attachment for this. Add egg white and whisk for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Eat straightaway. You can freeze leftovers in a glass container however remember that this sorbet contains raw egg, so it’s best not to defrost and refreeze.
Strawberry Sorbet (Vegan)
400g strawberries, chopped and frozen
1 cup aquafaba (liquid left over after cooking chickpeas)
50g icing (fine) sugar
You will need a high-powered blender or food processor for best results. Blend the frozen strawberries and ice until grainy, and add the sugar. Blend to combine. In a separate container whisk the aquafaba for several minutes until soft peaks form. Using a whisk attachment with your blender, add the aquafaba slowly to the mix and beat for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Eat straightaway, and store leftovers in a glass container in the freezer.
Strawberries on Toast
This was conjured up out of desperation, but actually, it was such a hit that I feel it could become a summer regular. It’s not just me that thinks so either; it’s been one of my most popular pictures on Instagram!
Quarter equal numbers of strawberries and cherry or baby plum (grape) tomatoes. Mash some avocado onto sourdough or other good quality bread or toast, squeeze some lemon juice on the avocado and add chopped fresh herbs if you have them(coriander or parsley would both work well). Top with strawberries and tomatoes and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
I don’t think smoothies should be dictated, they are more about using what you have on hand. I find almond milk a great base for smoothies, and it’s really simple to make your own.
For the almond milk: soak 1 cup raw almonds overnight. Rinse and blend with 4 cups water in a high powered blender for 2 minutes. Strain using cheesecloth (you can freeze the pulp).
For the smoothie: Blend 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup strawberries, a handful of hemp seeds and a handful of blueberries together until smooth. Add sweetener to taste.
Strawberry Oat Bake
35g coconut oil
25g cacao butter (if you don’t have this, substitute for more coconut oil)
2 tbsp macadamia or other vegetable oil
75g honey or other sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend the strawberries with the vanilla essence until smooth and set aside. Melt the coconut oil and cacao butter in a pan, add the sugar and mix until combined. Stir in oats, ground almonds and lemon zest. Mix until coated.
In a square tin (I used a loaf tin but a square tin would work much better) spread out half the oat mix, and press down with the back of a spoon. Add the strawberry mix and spread over the oats. Top with the final layer of oats. (If you have them, add a handful of chopped nuts into the remaining oats or sprinkle on top. I didn’t do this and wish I had!)
Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes until golden on top. Leave to cool completely, then place in the fridge. Cut into squares or slices once cooled (it will be less crumbly this way).
Chia Strawberry Jam
I know, I know. I told you I wouldn’t include jam recipes. But this isn’t jam in the traditional sense. By traditional sense I mean adding 400kg refined white sugar to your strawberries, boiling for half a day and then storing in the pantry for all of eternity. This is fresh, it won’t keep more than a couple of days in the fridge, and it’s got all the goodness of fresh fruit. Think of it more as “strawberries that spread”.
1 cup strawberries, chopped very small
2 tbsp water
2tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener (or more to taste)
Couple of drops of vanilla essence
This is so ridiculously simple it doesn’t really warrant a “method”. Stir all the ingredients together in a glass jar, put a lid on and leave in the fridge overnight.
I had so much fun with these strawberries that I’m actually relishing the chance to buy another box and experiment some more! The strawberry season isn’t long, and seasonal produce is far more delicious than its imported cousins, so I think it’s worth indulging in the glut whilst it lasts : )
I don’t enjoy frozen strawberries- they will always come out mushy since freezing destroys their cellular structure. Have you thought about growing your own strawberries? They’re so easy to grow and you can even get special strawberry pots. That way you should get a more steady flow.
Also, did you know you can make fruit soups? They are very popular in Austria. This past summer, I made a strawberry cake to use up some strawberries after getting a bargain. http://www.onceuponachef.com/2014/07/summer-strawberry-cake.html
It was OK but I wouldn’t rave about it, I didn’t like the mushy strawberries much! I prefer a classic fruit flan, where you arrange the chopped strawberries on a sponge base and set with a fruit gelatine (jelly/ glaze).
Haha, I probably should have clarified that frozen strawberries are best used in baking, smoothies and ice-cream / sorbet… not for eating in a bowl with cream!
I don;t get enough light on my balcony to grow them at the moment and we are moving at the end of the year, by which time strawberry season will be over… but next summer I will be growing them, don’t doubt it!
No, I hadn’t heard of fruit soup. Interesting! I will look it up.
The recipe looks good, although I agree, probably would work better with fresh strawberries. Thanks for sharing!
I freeze summer market strawberries whole–just removing the core. some recipes I use them in will want slices, some want chunks. so I do the quickest thing that allows me to use them for any recipe.
I have found that smaller berries mush less than larger ones. so I use those where that would be beneficial. in jams and fillings the mushiness won’t matter. ditto smoothies and fruit crisps.
rather nice making jam in the winter from my summer-preserved fruit–the added heat is welcome then. this works with tomatoes as well. just wash, core, and pop in the freezer. when they thaw, the skins come off easily and making winter spaghetti sauce warms the house.
I spent ages chopping those things!!! Now you tell me!!! ; ) Didn’t know about smaller ones mushing less but good to know… next time I’ll separate by size. Thanks for the tip!
I actually quite like making jam…I just don’t eat it, which kind of defeats the point! This summer I intend to buy a big box of organic tomatoes and can them all. Can’t wait! : )
Your recipes look delicious! In the olden golden days my mum and dad had equivelant to a market garden in Nedlands on a quarter acre block! They had come through the Depression and second world war and loved to do this! They had fruit trees, ducks and chooks and veg gardens! In later years my mum liked nothing better than if we bought her strawberries from a market and she would make it into delicious jars of strawberry jam that she would give to her friends and children! Think strawberries were one of my mums favourite things! Thank you for a trip down memory lane!
Wow Wendy, that sounds amazing! That’s my dream! What happened to their block? Shame too many blocks these days in Perth just have houses in the back garden rather than actual garden : /
That’s such a lovely memory…thanks so much for sharing : )
A dream worth having! We heard the house and land sold for a million dollars! Had been Workers Home (like State Housing) also that all the fruit trees had been pulled up! Everything tasted better in those days! My husband and I retired to Denmark …. Lived a little of The Good Life! Now I grow vegies in containers or in amongst my flowers!
Ooooh Denmark ; ) The stuff my dreams are made of! Sounds lovely!
actually to buck the trend I really like frozen strawberries I get them whole from the shops frozen but I only really have them in smoothies …the colder the better for me I also freeze my bananas for them too!
Thanks Lindsay….have been buying a box every week and starting to run out of ideas!
Hope you like them Rebecca : )