Strawberry season is something I look forward to all year: the weather is warm, the sun is out and the strawberry fields are ready for business! There's nothing like being outside and picking your own fresh strawberries (even buying them at the grocery store is a treat!) Strawberries make a sweet and nutritious snack and I find myself prepping strawberries all season long. It's a pretty easy process to prep your berries- wash them throughly under water, slice off the top using a knife or strawberry huller, and toss the strawberry tops and green stem in the garbage.
Well, think again before you throw them away ! Bright green leaves and stems are actually completely edible and can be used in a number of ways. I know it doesn't sound appetizing to munch down on the green top by itself, but you can really make use out of the strawberry tops in some creative ways.
Strawberries tend to be on the expensive side, especially organic strawberries, so using the entire berry will seriously make you feel like you spent your money's worth. And doesn't strawberry season always seem to fly by way too fast? Now is the time to make full use while you can!
1. Make strawberry vinegar.
This fun, DIY strawberry vinegar will seriously make some good use out of those strawberry tops. Cover the strawberry tops with some white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and let it steep for about a week.
Strain the mixture and you'll be left with a bright red vinegar. It's the perfect ingredient to use for a salad dressing, barbecue sauce, or any other vinegar-based sauce. This also make a great DIY gift for friends. Here are the directions.
2. Infuse water.
Plain water is kind of boring right? Add in some refreshing flavor to your water by throwing in the leftover strawberry tops. The subtle berry flavor from the strawberry tops will infused into the water.
Cover the strawberry tops with water and let it sit for at least an hour or overnight. Throw in some fresh mint and lemon slices and say goodbye to plain ol' water!
3. Make strawberry syrup.
If you want to get money's worth in one of the best ways, you'll have to make this homemade strawberry syrup. It's so easy to make and can give extra sweet berry flavor to iced tea, lemonade, pancake syrup, ice cream, you name it!
Instead of throwing the strawberry tops in the garbage, combine them with granulated sugar and lemon juice and allow them to macerate in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, blend the entire mixture and strain it. You'll be left with a delicious syrup that's good enough to eat by itself! Here's the recipe.
4. Blend them into a smoothie.
On top of adding in some leafy green like spinach and kale to your smoothie, throw in any leftover strawberry tops or just the entire strawberry! Like mentioned before, they are completely edible and will give your smoothie an extra boost of leafy greens.
The strawberry leaves and stems contain many health benefits too. They're high in vitamin c, iron, and calcium. The strawberry leaves also contain tannins, which helps with digestion, nausea, and stomach cramps.
5. Infuse liquor.
Infuse your favorite booze like rum, vodka, or gin with leftover strawberry tops for a special kick of berry flavor. Toss the strawberry tops into a bowl, container , or mason jars and let the boozy mixture sit for about two days and then strain it.
Mix it into one of your favorite cocktails and drink up! This also makes a great DIY gift.
6. Make strawberry leaf tea.
Why spend so much money on store-bought tea when you can make it yourself? Use any leftover strawberry tops to infuse a saucepan filled with boiling water to make a warm cup of strawberry tea.