Iowa Orchard U-Pick Strawberry and Recipes

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Iowa Orchard U-Pick Strawberry and Recipes

“Look at this beauty!”

This became my 5-year-old’s catchphrase of the day as our family picked through the vast strawberry patch at Iowa Orchard in Granger, IA in search of the biggest, reddest, and juiciest strawberries. The U-Pick Strawberry season for Iowa Orchard officially opened this past weekend and my son, my husband, and I picked for approximately an hour, happily being rewarded with over 12 pounds of fresh berries to take home. 

Iowa is home to several orchards that allow customers to pick their own locally grown treasures from strawberries to apples to snap peas. With picking season underway, now is a great time to gather family and friends and head outside!

What we LOVE about berry picking at Iowa Orchard

  • The registration and check-in process. Iowa Orchard updates their website and Facebook page regularly leading up to and during the picking season, keeping customers apprised of picking dates and hours. They require customers to register for a time slot to check in at the field which appears to help control the traffic flow in and out of the fields – no traffic jams and no waiting! Customers have a 20-minute check-in window but can pick for as long as you’d like until closing. 
  • Clean and easy to navigate fields. When you arrive at Iowa Orchard you’ll be provided with containers for collecting your goodies and a staff member will direct you to your designated area, also providing a brief overview. The layout of the fields and their organized setup allows for each family/group of pickers to have their own row to pick and alleviate congestion. Thick straw covers the aisles between rows of plants keeping the fields clean and free of mud.
  • The start of a family tradition. This is the second year in a row that my family has chosen Iowa Orchard and berry picking is quickly becoming a favorite annual tradition. It’s fun, encourages outdoor family time, and yields yummy results – win all around!

Tips for storing your freshly picked strawberries

  • Refrigerate your fresh berries right away!
  • Store your berries in a dry container and single-layered, if possible. We found that placing a paper towel underneath them helps to absorb any excess moisture and keep the berries dry.
  • Wait to wash them until you’re ready to eat them. To keep your berries the freshest, don’t wash them prior to storage.

Keto-friendly strawberry recipes

  • No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Strawberry Muffins
  • Strawberry Crumble
  • Strawberry Smoothies

Keto No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Almond Crust

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar substitute (I like erythritol or monk fruit.)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter
  1. Mix almond flour, sugar substitute, cinnamon powder, and sea salt in a bowl. 
  2. Once mixed, add melted butter. 
  3. Stir until well combined and clumpy.
  4. Pour into a 9×13 dish and press the crust to form a firm crust.
  5. Set crust in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar substitute
  • 1½ cups full fat sour cream
  • 1½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl beat together thoroughly the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar substitute, vanilla, and sea salt.
  2. Once mixed well, add the heavy whipping cream and whip until combined. You’ll have a light and airy consistency.
  3. Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the almond crust.
  4. Refrigerate while you prepare the fresh strawberry topping.

Fresh Strawberry Topping

  • 2-3 pounds of fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar substitute
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Wash and slice strawberries in half. Drain any excess water from the bowl.
  2. Sprinkle sugar substitute and vanilla over the strawberries and mix carefully.
  3. Top the cheesecake with the strawberry topping mixture.
  4. Refrigerate the completed strawberry cheesecake dessert for 6 hours or overnight for easier slicing.

Keto Strawberry Muffins

  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar substitute
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries, quartered
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together eggs, sugar substitute almond milk, and coconut oil. Eggs and milk should be at room temperature or the melted coconut oil will harden upon mixing.
  3. Add baking powder and almond flour into the mixture in small increments, stirring as you mix.
  4. Carefully mix in diced fresh strawberries. I recommend quartering them for even distribution in the muffins.
  5. Spoon the fully mixed dough into the muffin tin.
  6. Bake approximately 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then transfer them to a drying rack to continue cooling separately.

Tip: Enjoy these with peanut butter for a PB&J flavor!

Keto Strawberry Crumble

Strawberry Filling

  • 3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar substitute (I recommend Swerve brand.)
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • A splash of lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Carefully mix together sliced strawberries, confectioners’ sugar substitute, xanthan gum, and lemon juice.
  3. Layer completed mix in a single layer in a greased 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

Crumble Topping

  • ¾ cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  1. Combine almond flour, chopped walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar together.
  2. Add in melted butter and mix until a crumble consistency is formed.
  3. Sprinkle crumble topping on the strawberry filling.
  4. Bake for 24 minutes or until brown on top.

Strawberry Smoothies

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 clementine orange, peeled
  • 1 banana
  • A splash of lemon juice
  • A splash of orange juice
  • A handful of ice cubes
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Blend ingredients together, adding almond milk until the smoothie reaches desired consistency.
Michelle Jarnagin

Michelle Jarnagin

My name is Michelle Jarnagin and I live with my husband Dave and our son Devic in Des Moines. We have two Chihuahuas - Loki and Ollie. I work full time as a social worker and Dave is the stay-at-home parent in our household. Devic is currently in Kindergarten and will be entering 1st Grade this fall. In our free time, our family enjoys walking with the dogs, exploring parks and playgrounds, and visiting bowling/arcade centers. This summer you're likely to find us at the baseball fields for Devic's second season or enjoying one of the many festivals/activities Des Moines has to offer.

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