Strawberries — I consider them one of nature’s finest creations, and you’ll find them regularly on our table. My preference, of course, is to eat them fresh. I love them on my granola in the morning or sliced over my pancakes with a little powdered sugar. I like them for dessert with a little bit of sweetened cream (okay, a lot of sweetened cream), and I love them in salads with a vinaigrette dressing.
Strawberries are packed with anti-oxidants, and I read claims that they do everything from reducing your risk of cancer to mimicking the effect of aspirin or Ibuprofen as a pain blocker (without the side effects) to reducing your risk of age-related macular degeneration. Pretty powerful stuff! They aren’t the highest fiber fruit — raspberries hold that place of honor — but they rank higher than raisins in the fiber department!
Food storaging strawberries is a little tricky for us. We don’t have a lot of freezer space, and we don’t stick around in one location long enough to cultivate a patch. So I’ve invested in freeze-dried strawberries. Advertised to last 10-15 years, my thought is that they’ll tie us over until we can get our hands on fresh ones again. At $15-$17 per can, I have no intention of using them on a regular basis. I keep 2 Costco-sized bags of berries in my freezer that we rotate through constantly, and we’ll save the freeze-dried stuff for a real emergency.
This week, however, we decided to try all of our strawberry favorites using freeze-dried berries. After all, the commercials claim they’re exactly like fresh when re-hydrated. I take issue with that statement after actually eating them, but in a pinch, they’re not a bad alternative. My kids ate them by the handful, and in many of our recipes we couldn’t tell much of a difference. –Mellyn
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