Frugal Ways to Make the Most Out of Summer Strawberries

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Well, I think it’s fair to say that we are in the full swing of summer now. And with it comes one of my favorite fruits. Strawberries. I absolutely love fresh strawberries, and living in Ontario, Canada, we have them all over the place. From pick-your-own farms to roadside stands and farmers’ markets, even to just a cheaper than normal price in grocery stores. With inflation being as crazy as it is these days, any little bit helps.

This week, I was able to snag an amazing deal on strawberries, and while there weren’t many left, I snagged what I could. While they were cheap, I could tell they wouldn’t last much longer, so I had to get them used up as quickly as possible.

A little prep goes a long way

I don’t like wasting food when I can avoid it, but, knowing myself, I know that sometimes I forget about fruit and veggies in the fridge (especially if I put them in a drawer), and sometimes, to my utter dismay, they’ll go bad. The second I got home with my groceries, I put almost everything away except what I needed to prep to make sure it didn’t spoil. Namely the strawberries.

So, I started by washing ALL the strawberries; then I chopped off the tops. Thankfully there were only a couple of bad ones I couldn’t use. Since I’m working a lot on using scraps instead of throwing them out where possible, I made full use of these tops.

What to do with strawberry tops: A little strawberry vinegar

I had enough to fill a little honey jar that I’d washed and kept, so I backed it to the brim with the leafy tops of all the strawberries. Once I had everything packed into my jar, I took my good old plain white vinegar and slowly poured it in until the jar was overflowing. Then I sealed it up and set it in the fridge, where it was going to sit for at least two weeks.

Before you ask, I’m not making pickled strawberry tops (though I wonder if that would taste good? Maybe I’ll try one when I strain them in a couple of weeks?)

In 2-3 weeks, I’m going to strain all that pretty pink vinegar into a fresh, clean jar, and I’m going to save it for some delicious homemade vinaigrettes and salad dressings. From there, all I’ll need is a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and I’ll have a delicious, homemade strawberry-infused vinaigrette to enjoy at a moment’s notice through the fall and winter.

Sorting the strawberries

After I cut off all the tops, I then went ahead and sorted the rest of the strawberries. There were a few that weren’t super ripe yet, or in the perfect state for fresh eating, so those went into the fridge. (They didn’t last more than a day before the strawberry monster, namely me, came and ate them all).

The rest of them went into the freezer, I imagine you could make some great homemade strawberry jam, but as I don’t currently have a canning set-up, into the freezer, they went for me. Some I diced up reasonably small, others I left in halves. I got about one full large freezer bag full of strawberries to enjoy later on. While you probably wouldn’t want to eat them frozen, once they are frozen, there is a lot you can do with them.

What to do with frozen strawberries

The freezer is my best friend. I keep just about everything in there, and it makes life so handy for cooking in a pinch. Now that I have a big bag of frozen strawberries, you better bet I’ll be using them all up. Here are some tasty treats you can make with frozen strawberries:

Smoothies: No matter what kind of smoothie you’re making, strawberries would probably give you an extra little tasty flavor and boost of nutrients.

PRO TIP: If you use frozen fruit for your smoothies, you get a super cold smoothie without watering it down with ice.

Crumbles and Pies: Leave your strawberries thaw a little and then use them to make a strawberry crumble or strawberry pie. For me, it’s not really summer until I have one of my grandma’s homemade strawberry-rhubarb pies with fresh-picked strawberries and rhubarb from the garden!

Strawberry Bread: It’s kinda like banana bread; you’re just switching up the fruit.

Strawberry Puree: Have an ice cream bar or make a fancy tasty breakfast with waffles or pancakes? Try making a strawberry puree. It’s super simple. Take your strawberries from the freezer, add just a tiny splash of water and a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and simmer it down in a pot on medium-low for about 10 minutes or so. The strawberries will break down, and it will start to thicken. Just remember to stir frequently as sugar burns quickly!

What do you do with your strawberries?

Do you take advantage of this tasty, delicious berry when it’s in season? Aside from eating it (and maybe dipping it in chocolate), what do you like to do with your strawberries?

Let’s talk berries in the comments section.

About Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea. Check out her other work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing. 

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.

3 thoughts on “Frugal Ways to Make the Most Out of Summer Strawberries”

  1. I have a great memory of my mother making strawberry jam one year – my father had a patient who grew strawberries for market, and he invited us to come and pick at the end of the season. We got a LOT and they were all dead ripe. My mother picked up the phone, called her mother and asked “How do you make strawberry jam?”

    It turned out well. Sadly, she never did it again; I think once was enough. 🙂

  2. I use strawberry tops to make syrup for french toast, pancakes, ice cream, etc. I think I got the recipe from The Nerdy Farmwife

  3. I pretty much never have a surplus of berries of any kind, however if I were near a U-pick or maybe got a box from my produce rescue place, I’d need these. Some people like fruit salsas and chutneys, and as for me I’d probably add some blended strawberry to my homemade yogurt. I’ll bet a berry cobbler would be good!

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