Last week I was at Aldi grocery store and headed over to the veggie/fruits section. Carts and carts of strawberries were being wheeled out. They were the best looking strawberries ever! As I looked over them my mind immediately flashed back to the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever….
It couldn’t be better timing since I am entering my “preserving” season. I really enjoy preserving/canning fruits and veggies. The strawberries were ONLY 99¢ a pound so bought 24 pounds, yep that’s what I said 24 pounds. No problem!
Did you know that the strawberry is a member of the rose family? It’s not really a berry, but an achene or false fruit! The brownish and whitish specks are commonly considered seeds, are the true fruits known as achene. Who knew!
Headed home, dumped the strawberries in the sink, washed and cored them.
Aren’t they gor.geous. Then I lined a sheet pans with paper towels to let them sit and dry out.
Don’t want any ice crystals on these bad boys. After they were dry I sliced them…
I really try to limit the amount of preservatives I use in my diet, and rarely use artificial sweeteners (no pop). I decided I would use raw Stevia. What’s Stevia: a naturally delicious, zero–calorie, granulated sweetener derived directly from the leafy green foliage of the Stevia plant (stevia rebaudiana Bertoni). The great thing about it – it’s 300 to 400 times sweeter than cane sugar.
Sugar is the go to for sweetening the strawberries BUT sugar serves two purposes – a sweetener AND sugar preserves the color of the fruit.
If I used straight Stevia the taste would be the same, but the strawberries would not have a fresh, bright color. I used 90% raw Stevia and 10% sugar. I’m hoping this is enough sugar to preserve the color of the strawberries.
I really wanted to make some jam, but it just didn’t happen. The next step was to
package the strawberries in 2 cup servings in individual freezer bags.
Squeezed all the air out…
Then I decided to double bag, so put each individual bags in to larger freezer bags.
All those gor.geous strawberries are sitting tight in my freezer. Just waiting for us to EAT!