Frozen sweet, Florida Strawberries are thawed and turned into a sweet and savory chutney which makes the perfect topping for brie, grilled chicken or fish, or on top of some flatbread or naan. Strawberry Chutney Baked Brie has ripe strawberries and sweet shallots in a rich chutney that’s baked on top of a blue cheese brie.
I can’t believe Florida strawberry season will be over soon. It seems like just yesterday it was December and now it’s almost April. Time flies during their growing season which runs from December through April. I will miss those familiar containers of deliciously sweet berries in my Aldi or Weis markets. That just means I need to stock up now and preserve these red gems, so I can eat them throughout the year until their season starts up again in December.
One of my favorite ways to preserve strawberries is to freeze them whole. Of course, this does take some planning because you’ll need room in your freezer. And, if you’re like me, there’s typically not a lot of room in there. Mine is packed with beef! But that’s another post.
Anyway, I love to freeze Florida strawberries.
There’s so many ways you can prepare them for freezing. You can freeze them whole, sliced, crushed, or pureed. Then there’s the option to have them frozen in syrup (syrup pack), in sugar (sugar pack), or in in unsweetened juice or in water (unsweetened pack).
However, I prefer to freeze them whole on a baking sheet which is called dry packing. Then I can pop them into a freezer safe container, like a plastic zip top bag, jar, or other container. The key being, you don’t want air to get in or get out of the container. So, make sure it’s air tight!
m First, you want to make sure your berries are bright red and not too ripe. Then you need to wash them, dry them, and remove the caps. Don’t do this step ahead of time. You only want to wash your strawberries right before eating or preserving to make sure they are as fresh and ripe as possible.
Once my berries are all prepped, I place them on a baking sheet coated with parchment and popped them into the freezer. They should be frozen within 2 to 3 hours but leaving them in overnight will not hurt them. When your Florida strawberries are frozen, then you can put them in an airtight container. This is where I pull out my vacuum sealer to store the frozen berries.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, that’s okay! You can still put them in a zip top plastic bag removing as much air out of the bag as possible. Some people might double bag or put that plastic bag in another container to ensure that no air will get into the container or the bag. Excessive air will cause crystals to form on the berries. When crystals form on frozen foods, it could lead to freezer burn quickly. And that’s not a good thing no matter what you’re freezing.
Of course, frozen Florida strawberries don’t usually last long in our freezer. I turn them into popsicles like these homemade frozen strawberry frozen yogurt popsicles. Or they turn into cocktails like these watermelon strawberry martinis. I also put them in baked goods like scones or cookies. Once thawed you can use them for almost anything. Including chutney.
Surprisingly, I was not always a fan of the sweet and savory combination. Then one day I realized that figs and blue cheese were amazing. Which made me branch out and make some delicious grilled cheese with apples and manchego. So so good. The world of combining the sweet and savory together is just amazing.
This is where my strawberry chutney baked blue cheese brie comes in! The sweet flavors of the Florida strawberries, the herbs and spices, and the combination of the slightly sharp, creamy blue cheese brie makes for an amazing appetizer. The sweet strawberries are the perfect pair for brie, but I’ve kicked it up and served it with a creamy blue brie cheese.
Now, if you haven’t tried a creamy blue cheese brie, I highly recommend it. It’s one of few brie cheeses I could eat with the rind. It doesn’t have the sharp, flavor that most brie rinds have. At least the ones that I have in my local grocery store don’t. It could depend on the brand. But either way, you still need to find you a blue cheese brie because it is a match made in heaven. The blue cheese brie combined with the Florida strawberry chutney is a match made in heaven.
Yes, I know this post isn’t about the cheese. It’s about the Florida strawberries and this chutney.
There are a few ways to make chutneys. You could process a bunch of herbs together with some garlic and some oil; similar to a chimichurri. Then there’s the cooked version which combines fruits or vegetables with some herbs and spices, a little oil, and some peanuts for rich chutney. Then there’s the nut chutney. We won’t go there, but it’s just nuts. No, seriously, it’s just nuts and herbs. No fruits or veggies in there.
After the chutney cooks, you add the fresh basil to the strawberry mixture. This, without a doubt, lends to a bright sauce that’s rich with strawberry flavor. It’s perfect for grilled meats like fish or chicken and is the perfect topping for curries. The versatility of this chutney is amazing. You could even spread it on top of bruschetta with some goat cheese for a great tapas!
You see what I mean? Just look at that bright color. You know those Florida strawberries are going to have amazing flavor. The herbs and spices just elevate those berries. Then the blue cheese brie adds that complimentary sharp and earthy flavor that rounds out this recipe.
What’s your favorite way to preserve Florida strawberries?
Of course, you should obviously be following Florida Strawberry Growers Association on all forms of social media. You don’t want to miss out on any of their recipes or events so be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube so you don’t miss any fresh strawberry recipes!
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