Make use of Strawberry Season to Stretch your Grocery Dollar
It is a well-known fact that a cost-effective, environmentally friendly (and delicious) way to shave down your grocery bill is to make use of local produce in season.
Right now, we are smack dab in the middle of strawberry season. While you no doubt are acquainted with the sunny fresh flavour of this healthful berry (Vitamin C, folate, and loads of anti-oxidants to rid your body of toxins), you may not have thought of the many uses and recipes, beyond a delicious snack in hand (which is good too).
Get ready and stock up, because berry season does not last for long, so the window to get high quality fruit at lower prices closes quickly too.
Pick your Own
Put your family to work, collecting these little nuggets of summer. Little does your family know, but this is an activity with a purpose. Kids love the idea of picking their own fruit (and snacking along the way) and you love the idea of coming home with baskets of berries for your cooking needs.
Picking your own strawberries usually means a discount as well- so fun, food and savings, all at the same time. Win, win, win!
Cleaned and hulled or sliced, strawberries make a great snack. If you are looking for something a little different, consider a little dip on the side.
Combine plain yogurt with a tsp of vanilla extract. Subtle enough to enhance the flavour of the strawberry without overpowering it.
Another yummy treat is to dip strawberries in sour cream and then roll them gently in brown sugar. It sounds odd, but tastes great.
Remember deep dark February? When the thought of summer berries was a distant memory? Fill up your freezer now with cleaned, hulled berries to use through the winter months, in desserts, cooking or smoothies.
To freeze berries, place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and place in freezer (this prevents them from clumping together when they freeze). When frozen, place in air-tight containers until ready to use.
Strawberry Spinach Salad.
Toss cleaned spinach, and sliced fresh berries. Top with sliced nuts (almonds are good) and some diced, cooked chicken, and you have yourself a fresh, healthy one-stop meal.
Use vinaigrette, like raspberry or light olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar to coat the fruits and veggies.
Strawberry and Brie
Contemplating what to bring to your next BBQ? Here is an appetizer that makes use of this season’s produce.
Take a large brie wheel and slice the rind off the top. Slice about a cup to two cups of strawberries and toss with lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon.
Place the strawberry mixture on top of brie wheel, and microwave for about 15-30 seconds (depending on the size of the cheese, you want it to soften, not to melt). Serve with crackers or torn baguette pieces.
Back to the freezer, but this time with freezer jam, which is incredibly easy to make. It tastes great, is healthier than many store-bought options and costs less too.
There are load of online recipes, so sleuth out the one you like. I recommend the no-cook variety. Much easier. Basically, you mash fruit, add sugar (and some other ingredients, depending on recipe) and pectin and wait for the jam to set before you place in jars.
Extra tip. This can be a great addition to a gift basket, or the basis for holiday gifts come the holiday season. A little planning and work now can lead to savings (and convenience) in a few months’ time!