Strawberries. Strawberries. Strawberries.
This morning I packed my kids into the car, picked up our friends, and we headed off for a strawberry patch tucked in between lakes.
We piled out of the car, the kids excitedly running toward the tented table to pick up a box, and then we eagerly lined up to ride the tractor trailer out to the fields. The excitement was infectious, rumbling through the ranks as high-pitched squeals and chatter.
Finally assigned a row, the kids bent down to find the berries, an elaborate game of hide and seek. The youngest held up their finds with giant grins, exclaiming over the perfect red berries before dropping them into the container and pushing through the leaves to find more. The older crew initiated a contest to find the weirdest-shaped berry, the largest, and the “most perfect,” eagerly trying to outdo one another as we made our way down our row of straw.
My childhood berry picking memories are strong and laced with nostalgia, and they are part of the reason I drag my kids out to the field under the hot summer sun, but there’s more to it than that. The experience of seeing where their food comes from and being involved in the process helps children learn to appreciate and try new foods. Strawberries may seem like an easy food for most kids, sure, but that doesn’t mean the lesson doesn’t still apply.
What to do with fresh-picked strawberries to introduce new foods to children:
- Have kids help clean the strawberries and prepare them for freezing. Frozen strawberries can be used for all manner of smoothies to introduce the kids to new textures and tastes.
- Prepare a fruit salad where the kids have to choose one new fruit or have quinoa or another grain as the base to introduce that.
- Make a strawberry salad dressing and serve it over butter lettuce, green onions, avocadoes, and more.
- Make butter with the kids, and use the buttermilk to make these popsicles!
These popsicles are sweet and creamy with just a bit of tang from the buttermilk and plenty of strawberry bursts from fresh-picked berries. Not strawberry season? Try these with blueberries, blackberries, peaches, or any other sweet fruit chunks.
Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicles
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 6 hours
- 4 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups simple syrup
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- Mix the cream cheese until soft. Slowly add in the buttermilk and cream until smooth. Stir in the simple syrup.
- Fill the popsicles molds 1/4 full. Drop in a few sliced strawberries. Fill the molds until they are about 2/3 full, drop in a few sliced strawberries, and then fill molds until full. Insert sticks and freeze.
- When the popsicles are completely frozen through, remove from the molds and enjoy.
Makes approximately 10 popsicles, depending on mold size.
Photo credit: Shaina Olmanson