How many times have you bought food and didn’t get a chance to eat it? Came home late and didn’t feel like fixing it? Or you simply forget it was in the back of the fridge?
Take strawberries, for example. I’m tempted to buy these in the supermarket in the spring (before the local berries are available) hoping they’ll be sweet and flavorful...which isn’t always the case. They languish in the fridge and are on their way to being thrown away.
Instead, I remove the stems, slice and place in a medium size pan. Add the juice from a fresh orange, a tablespoon of local honey, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (or powdered will do), pinch of salt, and a generous teaspoon of whatever jam or preserves I have. Cook this down over a low heat until the berries start to break down. Stir occasionally to combine the spices, juices, honey and jam.
Place the sauce in a jar or you can put it through a sieve and strain the sauce that remains. Either way, this is terrific in smoothies, over ice cream, stirred into iced tea, or club soda was a sprig of fresh mint. It will keep in the fridge for about a week, if it lasts that long!
Want to freeze strawberries for later use? Read below.
Tomatoes about to bite the dust?
This tomato recipe is loved by me and my sister Susan.
Cherry tomatoes that are on their last leg: wash and cut in half. Put in a bowl and season with olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper and fresh parsley. Roast in the oven at 300 for about an hour. Chop them up and put in a jar. Refrigerate. Can be used for anything. I put on salads, roast chicken sandwiches or just eat out of jar.
How about apples that have seen better days?
Here’s what Susan does. “Wash, peel and cut into slices. Set aside. In a medium pan, melt 2 tsp butter, juice of one lemon, and 1 tsp of cinnamon sugar. Cook slowly on low heat until bubbling, add the apples and simmer. Turn over to coat with mixture. Boom: fried apples! I serve this with breakfast.”
How to Freeze Strawberries 🍓
Freezing fresh strawberries is easy to do. It locks in their flavor (and nutrients) so you can enjoy them all year long. You will need:
- Paper towels
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- Plastic containers or zip-top freezer bags
- Wash: You don’t have to do much more than place the strawberries in a colander, run cold water over them and let the water drain out of the bowl.
- Dry: Transfer the strawberries to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
- Hull: The hull of the strawberry (or the calyx) is the green stem on the top of the strawberry. To hull the strawberries, use a paring knife to cut out the green stem from the top. You can leave them whole or slice the strawberries in halves or quarters.
- Arrange: Transfer the hulled strawberries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Make sure to spread them out in a single layer so the strawberries are not touching each other.
- Freeze: Place the baking sheet with the strawberries in the freezer; freeze until the berries are firm, about 30 minutes.
- Store: Place the frozen strawberries in a zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store the berries in the freezer for up to one year.
- I vacuum seal the berries once frozen for best use.
If all goes well, the berries come out of the freezer looking as beautiful as they were when they went in—until they thaw. When they thaw, the berries don’t appear to return to their fresh-picked glory, but they still deliver the flavor you expect.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at several Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Local Flavors Shoppe www.localflavors.net
Rittman Orchards and Farm Market www.rittmanorchards.com
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport www.clevelandairport.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Mister Brisket www.misterbrisket.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
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The Corner at The Van Aken District
Hear Pat's story on Food Founders Podcast.
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