Freezing strawberries and baking with them


#1

Hi everyone,
We are having a big bbq next Saturday and I’m trying to make stuff ahead. I want to make a strawberry rhubarb crumble. My dad froze a whole lot of rhubarb from his garden and gave it to me and I bought two quarts of strawberries today at the farmers’ market. These strawberries are at peak ripeness and need to be dealt with in the next day. I have two options-- freeze the strawberries and make the crumble later in the week or make the whole crumble and freeze it. Any opinions on the preferable option?


(John Hartley) #2

We’ve never had success freezing soft fruit like strawberries - they go watery. Crumble freezes very well so we usually make two - one to eat immediately, the other to freeze.

Which reminds me - surely gooseberries must be coming in to season around now.

There is something of strawberry crisis in the UK with concerns that there might not be enough labour to pick them. Many pickers are migrant workers from the poorer European countries and they are simply not coming this year. Part of that is due to Brexit which has brought out the worst of British attitudes toward foreigners. But part is also due to improving economic conditions in the hom countries, such as Romania.


(Andrea) #3

Framers in the US are facing similar issues with a lack of migrant labor.


#4

Yes that’s exactly what I was worried about-- them getting watery and mushy. So you think I’d be ok baking it and then freezing? How do you defrost?


(John Hartley) #5

We defrost in the fridge (or on the counter top if time is short). It’s going to be tricky for you though. With rhubarb and strawberry, you’ve got two fruits which are bound to go quite watery as they cook. I think you may just have to accept that - should taste great though.


(Dan) #6

My wife cooks down the fruit into a freezer jam. Defrosts in the frig when she is ready to make single serving crumble or mini pies. The oven time and temp is only for the benefit of the crumb topping or crust and cuts down the work and oven time. She uses mini tin foil pie plates.

Now that I’m retired, I pay alot more attention to how my wife manages the kitchen. lol…


(erica) #7

You don’t need to cook it down as far as jam consistency. Make a compote, which you can then either freeze or refrigerate until next Saturday. Matter of fact, I would make separate, unsweetened strawberry and rhubarb compotes because that allows you to cook out the greater amount of water from the rhubarb. Combine and sweeten on the day you make the crisp. If you have extra of either compote, you can use them for other purposes. E.g., stir fresh berries into the strawberry compote to top ice cream or shortcake, use the rhubarb in a pan sauce for pork.


(Dan) #8

Sounds good to me !


#9

Any compote recipe suggestions?


(erica) #10

Sorry, I don’t use recipes for this sort of thing.


(Andrea) #11

Toss with sugar and bake - the fruit stays together a little better than when it its stirred on a stovetop. For a sweeter fruit like strawberries, I go with 10% sugar by weight, rhubarb gets up to 20%.


#12

Well @Harters I am giving it a shot your way and will be freezing this beauty after it cools. With the fresh rhubarb and strawberries it is so delicious (snuck a bite)

and there seems to be enough cornstarch in this recipe to bind the filling. I will report back after it’s defrosted!


(John Hartley) #13

We had a rhubarb crumble last night, to which we’d added the juice of two satsumas. Made it a bit wetter than normal but the citrussy edge was nice.


#14

It’s taking all my willpower not to eat a big piece of this!!!


(erica) #15

The best pie I ever ate was orange/ rhubarb, made by the owner of a cafe in the Catskill Mountains of NY. I tried to get the recipe some time later. The baker had died by then and though her niece very kindly sent me a copy of a recipe she found in her aunt’s file, it wasn’t the right one.


#16

:heart_eyes:
Wow! I would be thrilled to see that for dessert!!
It helps if you let it cool/set for a while before serving so it’s not too loose, bowls are probably a good idea for serving.


#17

Good idea. I will add paper bowls to the Costco list.


#18

Ouch! too bad… I would like to take a peek at the recipe too.


#19

I forgot to report back on this. I defrosted it in the fridge and served it. It was a huge hit but I’m a perfectionist with dessert… it definitely was better straight from the oven. It is a cornstarch heavy fruit filling and it got a little too jello-y being defrosted. Flavor was awesome and topping didnt suffer at all. I think if I had heated it a bit it would have been fine. Dont know that I would make ahead again but glad I tried!


(Dave Skolnick) #20

One of the nice things about baking ahead is that only you see how wonderful it was coming out of the oven originally. Everyone else only sees what is in front of them reheated. Be happy for them. grin