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Our First Strawberry Crop--What to Make?

This truly seems miraculous to a city girl....plant little strawberry plants and they actually form flowers that in turn become strawberries!

I can make strawberry shortcake, but I'm wondering if you have any other suggestions for a summer full of strawberries. I'm not much of a baker, but I'm willing to give it a try. Also, wondering if there other interesting things to do with the strawberries. If it matters, the type of strawberries are Ozark Beauty. Thank you.

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  1. I have this salad bookmarked to try, it includes a recipe for strawberry vinegar, which sounds interesting.


    This tart recipe always comes out well, and it isn't finicky, so would be pretty easy if you're a new baker:
    I usually make it in one large pan rather than small tartlets.

    Also, strawberry salsa, and if you drink, the cocktail options are endless. I always end up eating my strawberries plain before I can come up with something to bake/cook from them. A pound a day is nothing for me!

    1. Well, my firsts would be fresh strawberries over ice cream, just plain strawberries and cream, strawberry jam, strawberry tarts, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberries over waffles with whipped cream, strawberries with angel food cake and whipped cream/ice cream, strawberry lemonade, and as yamalam said, cocktails are endless.

      9 Replies
      1. re: boyzoma

        All great suggestions and I hope to try many. My only concern...I found two of our very fat groundhogs near the strawberry patch. I'm hoping they don't like strawberries!

        1. re: DaisyM

          Oh boy, do they LOVE strawberries! Can you throw some netting over them? If you don't, the fatties will decimate your berries. Good luck!

          1. re: visciole

            Oh boy were you right. Went out this morning and my fat friends had taken one bite out of each ripe strawberry. Really sad about this.

            1. re: DaisyM

              If it makes you feel any better I learned this the hard way, too! Seriously, those buggers will eat just about anything, and if you want to grow any edibles and you've got them, your best bet is to make a fence. A good fence. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but these fatties are the bane of every fruit and vegetable
              gardener's existence. So sorry you lost the berries!

              1. re: DaisyM

                Hopefully you will have enough to share. Early in the season I battle slugs ( not impossible, but it requires picking them off or chemicals), later it's the birds. The birds cackle at me, and wait, as I come flying out of my back door. I once used netting to protect my figs. Unfortunately the netting blue off, and I caught several huge snakes instead.

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  We finally gave up on growing tomatoes because the groundhogs would wait until they were ripe and take one bite out of each one. Sort of like a kid who is looking through a box of chocolates trying to find one he likes. They would climb over and even through the fence. Finally, we gave up. But I thought because we planted the strawberries away from their burrow that maybe, just maybe they wouldn't notice. I know, magical thinking. Anyway, the netting is on the strawberries and I'm going to pray that they leave us just one strawberry.

                  1. re: DaisyM

                    Try a chicken wire fence where the wire is strung a little loosely between the uprights -- groundhogs don't like to climb stuff that moves. When you're building the fence, leave about a foot or two on the ground which you can fold over on top of the earth, and then cover it with rocks or something to weigh it down. That usually keeps them from digging under.

          2. re: boyzoma

            Those sound good--I would also keep them fresh and don't cook them. I like to mix them into fresh ricotta, drizzle honey and add chopped dark chocolate.

          3. We go through a couple of pounds of strawberries every week this time of year. Besides slicing them in breakfast cereal, into puddings, making strawberry shortcakes, topping waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, stuffing rolled up pancakes with chopped strawberries, and using them for strawberry vinaigrette, one of our favorite ways to use them is in Strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. If you haven't tried that, you're missing out on one of the greatest desserts life has to offer.

            1. Be sure to try Cooks Illustrated's small batch easy fruit jam. Small amounts, less sugar, no canning.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Shrinkrap

                i made wonderful strawberry banana jam as one of my jams in my mother's day gift bags last week... i did can it, but if you plan to make a small batch or give some away, you don't *have* to...

                i used 8 cups of strawberries
                2 bananas
                roughly 3 cups white sugar
                2 cups brown sugar
                1 tsp vanilla
                3 tbsp or so lemon juice
                1 box pectin

                i put strawbs in a micro safe bowl and cooked in some water / dash of molasses combo that i used to cook my apple. i nuked til easily mashable. mash them til the pieces are as tiny as you like. meanwhile, i mashed one banana and finely chopped the other. add fruit to pot and bring to a boil. stir in pectin, bring to a boil, then stir in sugar, bring to a hard boil, and boil hard for 1 minute or so til it reaches desired consistency. skim foam. ladle in jars, canning if desired. it was VERY well received, and deepened over a few days.

              2. fill donuts like Donut Man in Glendora

                macerate them with balsamic vinegar, sugar, and black pepper to eat or eat over vanilla ice cream

                dehydrate them. then use them as pieces in cookies or blondies or in oatmeal.

                1. My children made me this fantastic drink on Mother's Day. They used a bit less sugar than called for (I don't like things too sweet)....


                  1. Honestly, given the us v. them situation, you might consider either trapping or dipatching the groundhogs, and if you are a really creative cook, actually use the game:


                    Then I'd definitely go for the strawberry shortcake first, pure, simple and a tribute to the fruit.

                    Seriously, if you plan on continuing to garden, a Have-a-Heart trap will be a good investment.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: junescook

                      OMG, we'd never hurt our groundhogs!

                      1. re: DaisyM

                        Have-a-Heart traps are completely humane and will allow you to trap and release your groundhogs at another location. It really will be a good investment, as the pesky critters will chow from your garden for years to come. They know a good thing when they see it.

                        Park Seed company says your variety of berry is everbearing, which means a big crop in June or earlier, depending on our location,and another crop in August. So you have more berries to look froward to, and maybe the groundhogs will have moved on, with your help, by then. Or cover the berries or fence them in.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          My husband built the fence yesterday. More strawberries are ripening. We'll see how it works this time. Even if I end up having to buy the strawberries, our two fat groundhogs get to live in our backyard.

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            It sounds like you're a little attached to the groundhogs. I can understand that.

                            When I lived on a farm in PA as a kid, we had quite a few of them in the garden and I had a big issue with my father's ideas of dealing with them. He eventually gave up on his less than pleasant solutions and erected a fence to control them, end of groundhog vegetable munching. Everyone was happy. We had pleanty of other things for them to forage on at the farm, and they maintained their plumpness.

                          2. re: bushwickgirl

                            Just a question... have you ever actually TRIED to catch a groundhog in one of these things? It's not nearly as easy as it sounds. You'd be surprised how many other animals will end up in your trap before the groundhog gets anywhere near it. Then, once you've caught it, you have to drive it at least 5 miles away or else it will come back. In many areas there are so many groundhogs anyway, that once you deport yours, a new one will simply move into the old burrow.

                            In my opinion traps are useless for groundhogs.The fence is the way to go.

                            By the way, guess what they often recommend as bait in these traps? You got it, STRAWBERRIES.

                            Daisy M, I wish you good luck with your fence!

                            1. re: visciole

                              I did not say it was easy, just humane; the OP expressed concern about hurting them and I wanted her to understand that the traps are humane, and yes, we did trap them on the farm. It's an alternative to having your garden consumed. Taking them elsewhere was silly for us, actually, because we had so many anyway, as did the "neighborhood;" my dad gave up on trapping pretty quickly, and also the externimation technique he had planned, since I protested vehemently. The fence was the way to go and since the OP has done that, the trapping is no longer a moot point.

                              Back to strawberries.

                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                I'm impressed you got any of them in the trap! I have no quibble with trying to handle them humanely; I was only remarking on efficacy. Our groundhogs are very wily -- I have to give them that. Anyway, I have something of a fixation on groundhogs and I enjoy discussing them, although they have consumed many a flower, fruit, and vegetable in my garden.

                                1. re: visciole

                                  I have a particular fondness for our groundhogs. I had never seen one up close until I moved here. One of them had a striking resemblence to Al Pacino and thus I decreed that we would celebrate Groundhog Day every year with a feast from the Italian Market in honor of our Al Pacino look alike. Although my husband never liked the groundhogs for eating up the garden, he and my stepdaughters very quickly got used to celebrating Groundhog Day. Other people have swimming pools and tennis courts in there backyard....we've got groundhogs.

                              2. re: visciole

                                Yes we have used our traps to catch groundhogs. Not only were they cleaning out significant sections of our garden in spite of the fence, but their holes were dangerous in our alpaca pastures. I don't recall it having been that difficult. My wife would not have allowed me to handle it any other way. The prevous year we had started with one and then, as if by magic, by mid summer had an additional 5 little ones!

                                1. re: junescook

                                  My father's concern, in addition to the garden raiding, were the holes in the pasture where we rode the horses.

                                  Groundhogs have quite the appeite. Happily we don't have them in Brooklyn, but I did see a racoon in the backyard one night, much to my surprise. He, or she, was eating the dry cat food I put out for my ferals.

                                  On another note, I just got a very simple strawberry-chile jam recipe in my inbox, courtesy of Food52, paraphased by me:

                                  1 lb strawberries, cleaned and sliced
                                  1 dried ancho chile, toasted slightly, seeds removed
                                  1 cup sugar
                                  1/4 cup lemon juice, or to taste

                                  Combine all and simmer for an hour, skimming frequently. Taste and add another chile if you like, anchos are not hot, but will add a depth of flavor.
                                  Simmer until the berries look candied and the jam passes the plate test. Remove chile, chill and serve; refrigerate leftover portions. I think this would easily multiply.