Strawberries questions (Is this the right forum for posts about special diets and food restrictions? What about food preservation?) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 06-12-2009, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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or is there another forum that is more appropriate? I get lost in the tangle of forums here sometimes. Usually I only post at Frugality and Finance, but some kinds of posts need other forums.

We are gluten-free (no wheat, rye, barley, spelt, or kamut - we do have GF oats) and dairy-free and cane-sugar-free (we do use maple syrup for limited sweetening) and soy-free except for tamari and miso. We also avoid processed food and additives. We also have some challenging pickiness (probably sensory issues) to deal with when cooking/planning.

We eat locally and homegrown and from pantry as much as possible. DH was laid off in Dec and I am trying even harder this year to grow and preserve food and buy in bulk from local farmers. We have a big garden.

I just picked 40 lbs of strawberries this morning. I plan to freeze most of them. I also have a secondhand food dehydrator and wondered if anyone has ever dried their own strawberries for storage? I wonder how well it would work?

I am interested in trying maple-sweetened jam. I cannot use cane sugar, honey, or artificial sweeteners. I haven't found a recipe for this and wonder if anyone has ever tried it. Canning experimentation seems like it could be a lot of work and mess for disappointing results. But I still might try, somehow. I would love suggestions on how to make this work. I would use boxed pectin.

Later this year I'd like to make sweet pickles with maple instead of sugar. Has anyone managed that?

And I'm looking for some yummy recipes that can be made with the foods we CAN eat. Strawberries go so well with "creamy" (darnit). We like smoothies, but I have been avoiding bananas because of how far they have to travel to us (= oil use I don't want to be responsible for). Same for coconut milk. My family doesn't like strawberries in muffins or in cake. I could make strawberry sauce for plain muffins and call it shortcake...or maybe make some kind of strawberry pie, although my mom's always used Cool Whip, which we don't eat. I would love some ideas!

Thanks, and sorry if that was confusing!

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#2 of 3 Old 06-12-2009, 02:54 PM
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If you want to make strawberry jam, you can just use either Pomona's pectin or balls no-sugar-added pectin and follow their instructions and add maple syrup to taste.

Personally, I like to just freeze all my strawberries this time of year - I currently have a little less than 10 quart bags of halved strawberries frozen. I'll use them to make strawberry jam periodically throughout the year. For me, its just easier to initally freeze everything and not worry about it right now - I have too much other stuff going on with my gardens & picking strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. And I'm pregnant. So jam/jelly make is just going to have to wait

ETA: Oh and I too have a food dehydrator, and am thinking about trying to dry some strawberries. We *love* dehydrated peaches, apples, etc so I would think that strawberries would be great too!!
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#3 of 3 Old 06-12-2009, 03:09 PM
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Personally I don't care for dehydrated strawberries - the flavor is not right to me. I know another mama just posted this morning that she'd tried them and didn't care for them either.

As for the jam - it shouldn't be a problem. Pick up Pomona's Universal Pectin (at the HFS) and follow the instructions for a low sugar jam - and just sweeten to taste. That's what I always do, and I just made some honey sweetened cherry jam last weekend (with about half the honey it called for).

As for freezing - I like to freeze the berries either hulled and whole (freeze on a sheet pan then bag so they can be pulled out one by one) or chopped and frozen in my silicone muffin tins so I have 1/3 c portions of chopped berries ready to go.

Some great uses for them are in smoothies, as a syrup for pancakes/waffles, or even just cooked down to a thick syrupy jam (without pectin) and spooned over cake/biscuits. For something a bit "creamy" without the milk, try making poached meringues - they may satisfy the texture craving.

As for the pickles - I've pickled beets with maple syrup, but never cukes. No reason it wouldn't work, but I'd do a single jar as a test run first to make sure you like the flavor before committing the entire harvest.

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