Ya’ll, for the second summer in a row we were able to make it out berry picking! I would say it was an annual tradition but that’s not exactly true- we’ve intended to take the kids berry picking every summer but then life has gotten in the way and by the time we realize it’s time to head to the fields…the berry patch is closed. Luckily, we were able to make time once more to pick our favorite summer fruit.
Last year was our first year actually making it to the fields; we picked so many strawberries, brought them home feeling accomplished and dreaming of all the different dishes we would make. Then, that night, our fridge busted- the strawberries were in a cardboard box on the top shelf of the fridge and they were all a complete loss with fridge drippings and weird freezer burns on top…just living the perfect Pinterest life ya’ll!
This year I was determined. We would get to the fields, pick the berries, and be able to enjoy the strawberries. So in two days we have made strawberries seven ways.
The kids love helping me in the kitchen and I find it is a nice way to incorporate simple math and reading for Marshall with using the recipes. For Vi we talk about the colors, describe the textures, and count.
The kids primarily made the cookies while I worked on the strawberry crumble bars.
I’ve been making this recipe for years; it’s always a hit and really is a perfect summer dessert. Not super heavy or too sweet and with a light crunch, Strawberry Crumble Bar recipes are all over Pinterest but this one is my favorite because of its use of lemon zest. Seriously, if you’re making a crumble you need a citrus zest to brighten up that flour/butter mixture. I have also been known to serve this for breakfast as well. This is Brad’s favorite baked item that I make.
My tips: While it’s possible to make this recipe without a pastry blender, it’s not easy or fun. Do yourself a favor and spend the $10 on one before making this. Also, I add an extra egg to the dough to cut down on loose flour. After removing from the oven, I let this stand on the cooling rack for hours and hours before cutting- otherwise you’ll end up with a soup instead of bars.
Now, chocolate covered strawberries are my absolute favorite treat. Chocolate chip cookies are Vi’s favorite dessert. So when I saw this cookie recipe I knew it would be perfect! It ended up looking beautiful and the kids had no issue making them at all. Pretty, great tasting, and easy to make- you have got to try them!
As soon as we got home from the farm, I quickly rinsed and hulled two ziplock bags of strawberries and threw them in the freezer next to a bunch of bananas I already had peeled and frozen. About four hours later, when it was time for afternoon snack, I grabbed one of the ziplock bags and the strawberries were frozen through. I proceeded to quickly make some ice-cream-free strawberry “milkshakes”.
Full disclosure: I went off the recipe linked in the picture, but I didn’t bother with measuring everything out. It was still awesome.
Muffins are one of the kids’ favorite breakfast foods and I just happened to receive the jumbo muffin tray and silicone wrappers that I ordered for Violet’s upcoming birthday; naturally this meant I also had to make some jumbo strawberry muffins.
My tip: if you’re using a jumbo muffin tin like I did, add five minutes to the baking time.
I know you’re probably envisioning us drowning in strawberry baked goods at this point, but I did freeze a good majority of the items. When freezing your prepared bakes, freeze first just on parchment paper for about half an hour and then stack the cookies, muffins, etc and put in freezer bags. The general rule is they can be frozen for up to 6 months and when you go to thaw them out, be sure to take out of the freezer bag immediately and thaw them spread out on a platter. That will cut down on condensation and mushiness.
I had to throw some of the berries in a quick spinach salad (spinach, strawberries, almonds, and a bit of balsamic) because, dang Gina, I needed a bit of savory after so much sweet! The kids agreed and they both asked for some of the salad in a wrap.
The next morning I went back to it and made the family French toast grilled cheese. Marshall surprised me by how quickly he ate it down, seeing as he isn’t one who likes a lot of sweet.
The last sweet baked good I made was strawberry scones. Another versatile breakfast pastry/ dessert, it’s a nice item to have in the freezer to change-up the monotony of the breakfast/ dessert lineup. I think we will have to have a tea party with them sometime soon! Also: this is another recipe where it is useful to have a pastry blender. Now if only I had a tool for the broken glaze, ha!
Of course, we also munched down on just good ol’ plain strawberries as well, but it was also nice to not have to worry about losing gallons of strawberries again. Plus with school quickly approaching, I’m sure the frozen treats and snacks will come in handy!