Looking for a way to preserve strawberry flavor in its purest form? We’ve got two words for you: strawberry puree. It’s about as close as you can get to the flavor of biting into a fresh strawberry, minus the actual berry. The puree also delivers an intense strawberry aroma that will have you dreaming of lazy summer afternoons in the berry patch.
Strawberry Puree Play
This mouthwatering strawberry puree is an easy recipe to master and gives you a versatile strawberry sauce to enhance the flavor of countless recipes. From healthy smoothies and dressings to indulgent desserts and pastries, here are just a few of the wonderful ways you can use strawberry puree.
- Add garden-fresh strawberry flavor to cakes or frosting.
- Layer ribbons of puree into pastries such as scones or cupcakes.
- Enhance any strawberry pie recipe.
- Spread it on waffles, pancakes, or french toast.
- Stir a few spoonfuls of puree into oatmeal.
- Drizzle it over ice cream.
- Use it as a decadent strawberry topping for cheesecake.
- Add to smoothies and make a lip-smacking berry-balsamic vinaigrette.
- Create beautiful summer refreshments by mixing with sparkling water and garnish with just-picked strawberries.
Our favorite method of making strawberry puree is adapted from James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum. She stresses the importance of separating the berries from the juice and reducing the juice to a flavor-dense syrup, which is then blended back into the strained berry flesh. The result is pure strawberry heaven. (Of course, you can also create a quick-as-a-wink strawberry puree by simply processing fresh berries in a food processor or blender, though this will produce a runnier puree with a more diluted flavor.)
Start with Exceptional Berries
The Sweet Berry Strawberry from our Foodie Fresh line (available exclusively at Lowe’s) is a hybrid berry that is beautiful and productive. Grow them front and center where they can be easily picked because they’ll quickly become a go-to summer snack. And now that you’ll be making batches of strawberry puree, the abundant fruit it produces will keep you stocked up on your most important ingredient.
These strawberries grow well in-ground, in containers, or in hanging baskets. It also produces deep pink, almost rose-like, double flowers that add a delightful visual treat wherever it grows.
Easy Strawberry Puree Recipe
1. Gather ingredients: 5 cups fresh strawberries, fresh lemon juice, and sea salt. (This will yield about 1¼ cups of finished puree.)
2. Place berries in a bowl and thoroughly rinse.
3. Freeze berries overnight (or longer) in a freezer bag to help release juice from the fruit. If you don’t plan to make the purée right away, use a straw to suck the air out the bag, creating a vacuum seal.
4. Place frozen berries in a colander over a container to catch the juice as they thaw. Occasionally use a potato masher to break up the fruit and release more juice. Thawing will take several hours.
5. Strain out (and save) any solids in the juice. Pour juice into a deep saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. As water evaporates and juice thickens, stir more frequently. Remove from heat when it has the consistency of syrup (before it caramelizes).
6. While the juice is heating, puree the strained berries (including the bits taken from juice) in a food processor or blender. Pour into a bowl. Mix in the syrup created from cooking down the juice, then add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.
7. Pour puree mixture into a jar or container. You can refrigerate the puree for up to 10 days or freeze for longer. (See following slide for details on freezing.)
8. To freeze, spoon puree into ice cube trays and place in freezer. Once frozen, put cubes in a freezer bag and vacuum seal it by sucking air out with a straw. Write the date on the bag. Frozen puree will keep for up to a year.
Photographs and Article by Julie Martens Forney.