Meal Prepping: Making the Most of Strawberries


June 12, 2017 | Food Lion
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Strawberries are a spring favorite that are perfect for Mother's Day: they're versatile in use, romantic in nature, and nearly everyone loves them! What's more is that they're chock-full of healthy goodness including antioxidants, fiber, potassium and manganese.

When using strawberries, however most people don't realize that the stems are edible. In fact, they are excellent for bloating and can improve digestion. Just keep in mind: When cooking strawberries, the hulls should be removed, but if eating them raw consider keeping the hulls on for their health benefits.

Common uses for strawberries include jams, pies, shortcake filling and salads. A simple way to use strawberries, and, more importantly, to be able to keep them on hand for longer, is to make strawberry sauce. A strawberry sauce can be used in drinks, over ice cream and fruit, or to moisten a cake. It will keep in the fridge for about a week, and takes less than 15 minutes of cooking time. Below is a recipe for an easy strawberry sauce, along with several ways to use it.

Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ( 2 cups) strawberries, hulled and halved (quarter if very large)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp corn starch or arrowroot starch stirred in 1 tsp water

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except starch + water and turn heat to medium.
  2. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for five minutes, then add cornstarch slurry; stir for a minute, until thickened slightly.
  4. Turn off heat and let cool.Use as is for topping ice cream sundaes (as shown), pancakes, or other desserts. Alternately, strain sauce through a sieve to use as syrup.

Here are a few quick uses for the strained syrup, which will be more fruity / less sweet than a typical syrup:

  1. Add 2 tbsp syrup to 10 oz bubbly water for a strawberry soda.
  2. Add 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup Italian dressing for a strawberry vinaigrette.
  3. Add 2 tbsp strawberry syrup to one cup strawberry yogurt and freeze in popsicle molds.

Weekly Prep Tips:

Vinegar Bathing: One way to keep strawberries fruit from getting moldy is to give it a vinegar bath. To do this: fill a mixing bowl or the sink with water, then add white vinegar. The ratio for this is about 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water. Pour your fruit into the vinegar water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it off, and dry. This process adds several additional days to fruit that goes bad quickly, and may help to remove wax as well.

To Cut or Not to Cut?: Chopping produce ahead saves time later, but how do you know what's good to prep ahead and what isn't? A rule of thumb is that dryer fruits and veggies will stay fresh pre-cut better than wet ones. That means broccoli, carrots, and melon are good choices to chop in advance, but tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers aren't.