No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Jars

Celebrate summer’s plentiful crop of sweet strawberries—and National Strawberry Parfait Day
No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Jars

PHOTO California Strawberry Commission

Now is the perfect time of year to pick up some sweet, juicy strawberries. Nearly 90% of America’s strawberries are grown in California and, depending on the weather, peak strawberry season in the Golden State begins in early spring and runs all the way to fall. Sure, berries find their way to us from other countries in the dead of winter, but these delicate fruits are most abundant and at their best when their journey to our shelves is shorter. And with National Strawberry Parfait Day celebrated on June 25, it’s the perfect time to learn some strawberry fun facts and tips, plus try a new recipe to make the most of this delicious fruit.

Strawberries have grown wild in Europe and the Americas for centuries, but the garden strawberry, which is the plant of choice for most commercial growers, was first bred during the mid-1700s by crossing a North American strawberry, F. virginiana, and a Chilean strawberry, F. chiloensis.

Since strawberries are fully ripe at the time they are picked, they will not continue to ripen after harvesting. Soon after they’re picked, the berries are taken to a cooler to be prepped for shipping, then refrigerated trucks take them across the country and they arrive in stores within three to four days.

Naturally fat-free, strawberries are a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid, and antioxidants. They are second only to blueberries in antioxidant levels, and have more vitamin C than other berries. A 1-cup serving—about eight whole berries—has only 50 calories and fulfills the recommended value of vitamin C for an entire day.

Berry Best Selection and Storage

  • Choose shiny, brightly colored plump strawberries with tips that aren’t too seedy and those that still have their green caps attached to “shoulders” that aren’t white.
  • Berries are delicate and must be handled with care. Do not wash them until just prior to use; moisture can hasten their decay. Keep berries dry and refrigerated. If they didn’t come in a specially designed ventilated plastic container, store them in a single layer in a shallow container lined with paper (which will help keep them dry for optimum freshness). They may be topped with a paper towel to absorb additional moisture, then covered with plastic wrap.
  • When it comes time to use them, rinse in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak strawberries in water. They can become waterlogged.
  • Refrigerated, under ideal conditions, strawberries will last 2 to 5 days.

Strawberries are always delicious on their own, but also a great addition to salads, atop cereal or yogurt, swirled in ice cream, or blended into a smoothie. You can also easily freeze these seasonal treats if you have an abundance on hand and bake them into muffins, pies, cakes, and other delicious desserts at a later date. The California Strawberry Commission features many sweet and savory recipe options to check out, including this one I have highlighted here in honor of the “holiday.”

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Jars

Makes 6 Servings | Recipe by Jaclyn Irwin courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission

Easy, portable no-bake cheesecake jars made with a jammy strawberry topping. These are perfect to have on hand during the warmer months when you want something light and refreshing.

For the Topping
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon arrowroot flour or cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water

For the Base
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons coconut oil, softened

For the Cheesecake Layer
⅔ cup Greek yogurt
7 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and arrowroot (or cornstarch) and water mixture. Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil until well combined and the mixture holds together when pressed between your fingers. Add this as the base to 6 small jars.
  3. In a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) combine all ingredients for the cheesecake. Mix well on low speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Divide the cheesecake mixture into the jars. Top with the strawberries. Store covered in the fridge until ready to eat.
Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.