Picking and handling fresh strawberries: Pick ripe fruit; strawberries do not ripen or get sweeter after harvest. Handle berries as little as possible, and refrigerate as quickly as possible. Do not wash berries until you are ready to eat or process the fruit; leave caps on until after washing to preserve flavor.
Freezing strawberries: Process as soon after picking as possible. Select firm ripe berries; wash, stem and drain. Slice berries in halves or quarters, then sprinkle with sugar. Use one part sugar to five parts berries, making sure each berry is coated, then package in plastic containers or freezer bags, expelling as much air as possible before sealing the container. Whole berries can be frozen on a cookie sheet, then placed in containers.
No Cook Strawberry Jam: 2 cups finely mashed strawberries; 4 cups sugar; ½ cup liquid pectin. (Powdered pectin can also be used; combine 1 box pectin with 1 cup water and boil for one minute). Combine sugar and berries; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pectin to fruit and stir 2-3 minutes. Quickly ladle mixture into jelly glasses or freezer containers. Cover at once with tight lids, let stand at room temperature or for 24-48 hrs until set. Store in freezer. Once jam is taken from the freezer, it will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Almond Bark Covered Berries: Wash berries and dry carefully with paper towels; do not remove caps. Melt almond bark (easiest to do in the microwave) and dip 2/3 of the dry berry into the melted bark. Set on wax paper to cool. You can substitute chocolate for almond bark.
Strawberry Dip: ½ cup sour cream, 1 tsp grated lemon peel, 1 tsp lemon juice, ½ cup powdered sugar. Combine ingredients and beat until mixture is light. Dip berries and enjoy. Dip can also be used with many other fruits.
Fresh Strawberry Pie: Fresh stemmed, washed and dried berries; 9” cooked pie crust. Glaze: ½ cup water, 1 1/3 cup sugar, ¼ cup corn starch, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and red food coloring. Combine sugar and half of the water. Mix cornstarch and remaining water, then add to the sugar mixture. Cook until thick and clear. Add salt, lemon juice and food coloring and stir. Fill pie crust with fresh strawberries, pour glaze over the berries, cool and then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.