It’s strawberry season, and it’s time to make all of your favorite strawberry dishes. Strawberry jam is hands down my favorite jam. You can keep that weird gelatinous grape stuff, thanks. And strawberry shortcake? Who doesn’t love strawberry shortcake?
But when you’ve got tons of strawberries on your hands, there are only so many bowls of shortcake you can stomach.
And the major problem with strawberries is they turn quickly. Once you pick them, you’re committed to doing something with them in the next 48 hours.
Rather than ending up with 47 half-pints of strawberry jam in your pantry this year, I thought I would put together a fun round-up of some unusual ways to use strawberries – chicken, soup, mead? Yeah, we’ve got a little bit of everything here.
Grab your basket of berries and get ready to try something new.
I love Amber’s recipes. This lovely lady’s website is where I went when I was struggling to make my very first batch of mead.
Yeah, I kind of fell down the homebrew rabbit hole after that.
I can already tell that this particular mead is going to be a winner. My pantry has smelled like strawberries and honey all week, thanks to this happy little ferment bubbling away in my brew bucket. And now that I’ve racked it into a jug, I can’t believe the color!
I love that this mead not only uses up a glut of strawberries but it also puts to use another common garden staple that’s ripe around strawberry season – lemon balm.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about herbs, it’s that they usually come on strong right around the same time as all the things they go well with. And strawberries and lemon balm are no exception; they were made to go together.
Even if this is your first ever batch of mead, you’re in good hands with Amber’s recipes. Slainte!
2. Strawberry Lemon Balm Shrub
If you’ve never had a shrub, you’re probably wondering what this jar full of stuff is. Well, as I said, it’s a shrub, also known as drinking vinegar. Now that you’re thoroughly confused, let me explain.
Shrubs are vinegars that have been infused with fruit or ginger and then sweetened to form a syrup.
This fruity and tart syrup can be mixed into sparkling water, cocktails, sodas, lemonade, ice tea, or plain water. They’re a great way to change up your daily water intake and turn everyday drinks into something worthy of a picnic or a party.
Drinking vinegars are incredibly easy to make, and once you make one, you’ll find yourself making more with each new fruit that comes into season. Add complimentary herbs to the fruit and vinegar mash, and you’ll have yourself one swanky cocktail mixer.
After I started the strawberry lemon balm mead, I thought, “I’ll bet this would make a great shrub, too.” So, I mixed up a batch, and it did not disappoint.
You can learn how to make shrubs simply with these easy-to-follow directions. For this shrub, use strawberries and add one lightly packed cup of lemon balm leaves.
In a matter of days, you’ll be sipping delicious drinks with an extra punch or kicking up your SodaStream game a notch or two.
I make a lot of spinach and strawberry salads in the summer. Who am I kidding? I make a lot of salads in the warmer months, period. If you’re going to enjoy the fruits of your garden in salad form, why not make your own dressing to go on it too.
This recipe is for a lovely vinaigrette that’s highly customizable.
The strawberries take center stage, but you can change the overall flavor by tweaking it here and there. I added a touch more vinegar to really dial in on the acidity of the vinaigrette.
Make up a batch of this sweet and tangy vinaigrette to serve with salads at your next brunch. Or have everyone going back for seconds for salad, yes salad, at the next barbecue.
I had to put this cake in here. I found it when I was trying out ten different desserts to make in a cast iron skillet. This was probably my favorite dessert of the many that I tried. And I made it in the middle of February with frozen strawberries.
With fresh strawberries, it’s a real winner.
The buttermilk gives you an incredibly moist cake with a wonderful crumb and just a hint of tartness. Add in the strawberries, and this easy skillet cake is out of this world.
If you make your own buttermilk (and you should), this is a great recipe to use it in.
Did I mention you bake it in a skillet so it’s super easy, and there’s very little clean-up?
My poor popsicle mold sits up on the highest shelf in my pantry from October to May. But man, once that hot weather shows up, I put that thing through its paces. Whether it’s popsicles for the kids or more, ahem, adult flavored popsicles (Gin and tonic popsicles, anyone?), that thing lives in the freezer.
I picked 20 lbs of strawberries this week, and the ones toward the bottom of my basket were kind of smooshed. I needed something I could make quickly before they completely fell apart. And then I saw my blender.
A quick Google search yielded this recipe.
Hint, the recipe says you have to slice the strawberries first. Pfft, not if they’re going in the blender, you don’t!
Creamy and full of strawberry goodness with the tropical touch of coconut. Yeah, I didn’t share these with the kids. Sorry, not sorry.
Okay, how about something a bit more adult?
When the temperature rises, I don’t want to go anywhere near my stove. I do a lot of grilling in the summer, mainly to keep the kitchen cool. But there are only so many grilled chicken breasts you can take before you start looking for something different.
Oh yeah, this combination might be more classic than tomatoes, mozzarella and basil! But there’s some of that in there too, minus the tomatoes.
Yeah, I know, that was kind of my reaction as well.
But I made it anyway, and after the first spoonful, I was hooked. The Reisling gives it a nice zip, transforming a dish that could be overly sweet into a balanced soup. Pleasantly sweet with a touch of savory, this is definitely something I’ll be making again.
It’s incredibly quick and easy and makes for an impressive first course before a larger meal.
Save this for summer dinner parties when you’re trying to minimize heating the kitchen.
Or when you want a quick lunch for the kiddos without the fuss of cooking and fighting over eating veggies. Swap out the wine for sparkling apple cider, and slide a bowl of strawberry soup their way.
Speaking of the kids. My boys love that gross powdered Nesquik Strawberry Milk. Okay, so did I as a kid.
But as an adult, I’m not comfortable with the list of ingredients, the first of which is sugar and also carrageenan. The boys drink one glass, and they’re climbing the walls for the next hour or so.
When looking for a more natural option, it doesn’t get much more natural than this. The entire recipe has four tablespoons of sugar in it. However, I cut that in half, and my boys still loved it. They agreed it was the best strawberry milk they had ever had.
Summer is the season for the Kings of the Grill to show off their stuff. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, barbecue chicken.
Dang, now I’m hungry.
When you’ve done the Carolina Gold sauce and you’ve perfected your chipotle barbecue slathering sauce, consider the humble strawberry. The natural acidity of this berry lends itself well to barbecue.
This recipe is a great place to start. But like any good Barbecue Baron, you’ll want to make it your own. And if that’s the case, let me help point you in the right direction. I’m just going to leave this right here.
10. Strawberry Lemon Jam
Okay, I know, it’s a jam. And we’re tired of making strawberry jam. But trust me on this one. This is not your grandmother’s jam. Or maybe it is, and you’re nodding your head right now because you know.
This is no ordinary strawberry jam.
Adding lemon zest adds a bright citrus kick to what would otherwise be another jar of strawberry jam. Teatime just got a whole lot more interesting. I can’t even begin to tell you how many English muffins I’ve scarfed in the past week just because I needed a lemon strawberry jam delivery device.
If homemade gifts are your thing, you need to make a batch or two of this. It will the jam you reach for over and over to tuck into gift baskets or give as last-minute gifts.
Sorry, Bonne Maman, you got nothing on the flavor in this jar.
Strawberry Lemon Jam
For 8 8oz. jars
- 6 cups granulated sugar (pre-measured into a bowl so you can add it all at once)
- 5 cups mashed strawberries
- 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of 4 lemons
- ½ tsp of butter
- 6 tbsp fruit pectin
- Wash and dry your lids and bands. Place the eight jars in a water bath canner, fill with water to fill and just cover the jars. Bring to a simmer.
- In a large saucepan, add the crushed strawberries, lemon juice, zest, and butter. Stir in the pectin until it’s dissolved. Bring the berry mixture to a rolling boil. Stir frequently to prevent the berries from scorching.
- Pour in the sugar, stirring constantly and bring the jam up to a rolling boil again. At this point, you shouldn’t be able to stir down the mixture. Boil hard for one minute.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Fill the jars one at a time, and return them immediately to the canner. Fill each jar with hot jam, leaving ¼” headspace. Wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth if needed. Place the lid and band on the jar and close until finger tight.
- Once all the jars have been filled and placed back in the canner, cover with the lid and turn the heat to high. As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, set a timer for ten minutes.
- After ten minutes, turn the heat off and remove the lid. Leave the jars in the canner for another five minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canner, being careful not to tip them, and set them on a clean kitchen towel to cool. Let the jars sit for 24 hours, and then check them for a tight seal.
The jam is great right away, but the flavor improves greatly if you let it sit for a couple of weeks.
Well, there you go. If I can put away 20 lbs of strawberries with this list, I’m sure you’ll be able to make a dent in your strawberry basket too. And then, once you’re done, it’ll be time for blueberries.