When spring rolls around in Austin and temperatures begin to rise, most of us cannot wait to get outside and enjoy the bounty of warm weather activities this city has to offer. For some it’s getting out on the lake, others it’s wildflowers and hiking trails or even the fun festivals that seem to pop up each weekend.
As much as I love all those things, I have to say, my most favorite activity of this season is strawberry picking. I’m not even a huge strawberry fan, (blueberries have my heart) and yet, the thought of berry picking- especially with children, is one I wait patiently for all winter. There is something so precious about watching their eyes light up and the wheels turn as they realize they can pick as many berries as they like and we get to take them home and eat them. The tiniest little guys are just precious picking and eating them straight from the plant. Their smiles stained with ripe berry juice. I can’t even handle the sweetness of it all.
In the midst of all the excitement and joy, however, all sense of time begins to fade and we always seem to get away with ourselves on the picking front. As we come to our senses, it’s too late. We have pound after pound of strawberries and cannot give them back. They’re so ripe they must be eaten or frozen within a day or 2. My kids may beg to differ, but if we ate that many berries in 48 hours we’d all be sick. So what to do…
If you find yourself in a bind when it comes to using your freshly picked berries before their demise or even just happen to have some you bought at the market that need to be used immediately, I have a few tried and true recipes to share. Most are fairly easy and not overly indulgent, yet immensely flavorful and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!
STRAWBERRIES & CREAM BISCUITS – Smitten Kitchen
Yes, you read that right. If you make any of these, I must insist it be these. With only a handful of ingredients, they become perfectly flaky, and taste exactly like their name. I have made them on numerous occasions and they are now a staple each year at Easter brunch. I will not apologize that I ate about 10 last week. If you like biscuits this is for you, not to mention Deb, has tested biscuit so many times on her blog that she knows how to do them right.
MINI ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS – Sprouted Kitchen
These muffins are always a hit. Gluten-free, dairy free (if you sub out regular chocolate chips for vegan) and without refined sugars: the perfect sweet/healthy snack for a toddler or anyone for that matter. I had a co-worker who used to request I make these for her birthday each year. She has no food allergies of any kind. They’re just that fantastic. One note- if you make these, double the amount of strawberries you roast. You won’t need the extras for the recipe, but roasted strawberries are amazing on top of yogurt or vanilla ice cream, trust me on this.
MINI STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC HAND PIES – All Purpose Flour Child
Don’t let the “hand pie” scare you. These are surprisingly easy to make, you just have to realize you will have to refrigerate the dough and roll it out at some point. I made these for Valentine’s Day this year and my kids and husband could not get enough. I was a little nervous about the insides because I failed to boil down the balsamic vinegar like the recipe says, but I just put half the amount directly in with the berries and it didn’t matter one bit. They are sooo delicious. I can’t even imagine how wonderful they’d be with super ripe, hand picked strawberries. Yum! *I’m sure you could try these with pre-made pie dough, but I haven’t tried it myself.
If you make any of these recipes, I’d love to know how they turn out. Regardless, I would highly recommend checking out any of the blogs they came from. Each one is amazing!