Strawberry picking is one of the true joys of early summer here in New England. It’s one I look forward to for months in advance. We had such a warm spring this year, it feels like I’ve been dreaming of strawberry fields forever (yes, that is a Beatles reference, but don’t worry, I am not about to break into song). The task is made extra joyful because it always seems to go well with the kids and we have a lovely time together. Other berry picking, not so much. Raspberries are much harder for little eyes and hands to find, and the prickly brambles scratch up little arms. And both raspberries and blueberries are ripe in the high heat of July, which means greater discomfort and more bugs to come after sweet young flesh. A lot of complaining ensues if I take the kids raspberry or blueberry picking. But strawberry picking seems to be an idyllic endeavor for all of us. I cherish those times.
This year was no exception. We went out first thing a few Saturdays ago, and spent several lovely hours picking berries and playing at the berry farm. And even though we spent less than an hour in the actual fields, we came home with 6 quarts of strawberries. That doesn’t include the berries we carried home in our tummies! Because I believe all three of my kids ate their weight in strawberries while they were supposed to be filling their baskets.
Fresh berries really don’t last very long. Even refrigerated, they start to turn within a week. So I found myself racking my brain for things to do with them. The problem is that I don’t like cooked strawberries. I detest strawberry jam, and I wasn’t about to haul out all of my canning equipment to make a few small jars of a preserve I don’t even like. I’ve also been trying to create more gluten-free, sugar-free foods my kids will like. I thought of a number of possibilities, but in the end I settled on muffins. Muffins are a perfect breakfast or snack for young kids, and they’re portable so they can be sent to school or camp. And these muffins are incredibly healthy, being made with flax seed meal and oat flour and entirely sugar-free. They’re not very low carb because oat flour is higher carb than my body can handle. But for the kids, they’re perfect.
The Results: My older two children and my husband loved these. The little one was not a huge fan, but she’s by far my pickiest kid. And since I don’t like cooked strawberries in things, I can hardly blame her if she doesn’t either!