5 Delicious Ways to Use Up Overripe Strawberries

updated Jun 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Maureen Petrosky)

Picked-at-their-peak strawberries sometimes barely make it home with me: I’m too busy snacking on them straight out of the basket and lose track of what I’m eating. Before I know it, they’re all gone, so I vow to buy more next time. But then what happens? I buy too much, or the gorgeous ones from the farmers market are so ripe that they get soft before I get around to eating them.

It happens to the best of us, but instead of throwing them out, I celebrate the fact that these overripe berries can still be enjoyed in lots of different ways! Overripe strawberries are preferable over firmer strawberries in some dishes since they’re really fragrant, sweet, and flavorful. As long as you’re blending, cooking, or mashing up the strawberries, texture doesn’t matter anymore; all you care about are their flavors and juices. So get to hulling and chopping!

Here are five of my favorite ways to eat up overripe strawberries.

1. Strawberry Butter

I first had strawberry butter served with warm-from-the-oven popovers, and I’ve never forgotten that experience. It’s an elegant treat to spread a blush-pink butter over muffins, toast, or other baked goods, but it’s deceptively easy to make. Just smash up some strawberries and blend it with softened butter for a sweet, creamy spread. You can also shape any extra strawberry butter into a log, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze it for another day. Imagine a pat of strawberry butter melting onto a stack of buttermilk pancakes — yum!

Get a recipe: Strawberry Butter

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Blender Drinks

Any blender drink recipes are perfect uses for overripe strawberries. Whether you like milkshakes, smoothies, or even strawberry milk, they’re all great uses for the strawberries, and you don’t even have to chop them up.

You can also preserve the overripe strawberries for the drinks simply by freezing them solid and storing in a freezer bag or airtight container. Ripe, frozen strawberries are then at your fingertips, and will keep your drinks nice and cold.

(Image credit: Dana Velden)

3. Jam

Jam is an obvious use of too-ripe strawberries. Large quantities can be canned, or you can make just a tiny batch of refrigerator jam. Besides morning toast, I love having strawberry jam around because it’s a fun ingredient for baked goods, like thumbprint cookies, bar cookies, or swirled into muffin or cake batter.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

4. Cocktails and Sangria

There are so many ways strawberries can be incorporated into cocktails; they add sweet floral flavors and also make for prettily colored, summery drinks. Muddle them, turn them into strawberry simple syrup, infuse them into vodka or sangria, or macerate them with vinegar into a sweet-tart shrub!

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

5. Frozen Desserts

Overripe strawberries are actually better to use in frozen desserts since they’re starting to break down and won’t freeze into a harder icy texture like firmer strawberries. Cook them down a bit or macerate with sugar, then swirl or blend into ice cream, popsicle, or sorbet bases.

What do you like to make with overripe strawberries? We’d love to know in the comments!