Cleaning out the freezer of past-dated food to make way for new offerings from the garden and orchard is a semi-annual task. I find it somewhat embarassing that any of the produce I so lovingly grow and harvest becomes a leather-hard, freezer-burned bag of useless vegetation, good only for the compost heap. But it does happen to most food preservationists. So it is especially rewarding when I invent a creative way to use what otherwise might have ended up as compost.
This year I discovered in the very bottom of the freezer a couple of quarts of whole strawberries that were labeled 2004. Oh my!!! They looked a bit desiccated, but actually smelled OK. But what to do with them? Who knows where inspiration will come from?
I left the berries in the sink for a few hours to thaw. Then I dumped the thawed mushy mass into a saucepan, added about a cup of sugar and slowly brought the mixture to a boil while stirring to disolve the sugar. Once the liquid looked clear, I turned off the burner and let the pan cool. I then poured the pulpy juice into a strainer and was rewarded with a few cups of lovley red strawberry sauce. Ice cube trays are handy kitchen accessories for freezing small quantities of heavily flavored concoctions, such as pesto or strawberry sauce. My "recipe" produced 36 cubes of frozen sauce.
You could no doubt use other berries or peaches to make this fruit sauce, and even add a few spices to make the flavor a bit exotic. I think the sauce will be heavenly over angel food cake or fruit salad, or mixed with some oil and vinegar to make a strawberry vinaigrette.
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