Tag Archives: strawberries

Strawberries

 

This strawberry is juicy!

Another strawberry? Oh thank you!

Strawberries are so yummy!

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Local Strawberries for Valentine’s Day

We don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day.  Years ago, when Ed and I were first dating, we’d go out to a fancy restaurant.  But now, we’re just as happy to enjoy a quiet night at home.  I try to make a special meal for the two of us, and I always like to include a strawberry dessert.

Big red hearts on Valentine’s Day make me think of strawberries.  Unfortunately, strawberry season isn’t until June around here, and those berries shipped into the grocery store can be pricey, especially with this year’s weather.  Not to mention, they’re gassed to ripen and never seem to have the same flavor or aroma as truly local, fresh, ripe berries.

If you’re a strawberry fan like me, you probably preserved a bunch of berries when they were in season, making jam or jelly, freezing or dehydrating.  So, this year for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to make a strawberry dessert using the bounty of my freezer, and I wanted to share a few recipes that will work nicely with preserved or frozen berries.

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Strawberry Cutie Pies are the perfect size for a romantic dinner with your Valentine.  I think I’d put little hearts on the top this time instead of stars.  Frozen whole berries, thawed and crushed, make a great substitute for fresh.

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If you’re spending Valentine’s Day with the whole family, make a full size Strawberry Pie, or Strawberry Rhubarb if you’ve got rhubarb in your freezer, too.

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Strawberry Shortcake is a perfect way to use frozen sugared strawberries.

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And for those of you who simply must have chocolate on Valentine’s Day, try Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping.  I made this last year for Valentine’s Day and I was so happy to have leftovers for days.

I haven’t decided which one of these recipes I’ll make for Valentine’s Day this year, but I’m currently leaning towards the cutie pies.  Any one of these desserts, when served after a meal cooked with love at home, makes for a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Use some beeswax candles for ambiance, and I’m certain you won’t even think about how eco-friendly it is.  You’ll just enjoy the time with your sweetie.

This post is my contribution to this month’s APLS Blog Carnival, which is themed “Greening Valentine’s Day.”  To read all about how to have a more eco-friendly Valentine’s Day, visit Retro Housewife Goes Green on January 19.

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Strawberry Fruit Leather

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I usually make jam instead of jelly because I don’t like wasting all the fruit pulp that’s left after the juice drains.  However, when I made strawberry jelly this time I used the leftover pulp to make fruit leather, and I have to say I was impressed by how easy it was.  Since I don’t have a food dehydrator, I used the oven method.

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To make the leather, I covered a baking sheet with plastic wrap, sprayed it with non-stick spray, and set the oven to the lowest setting.  Websites and books I checked out recommended 130-140°F, but my oven doesn’t go that low, so I used the “keep warm” setting.  I blended the fruit pulp in my food processor, then spread it in a thin layer on the plastic wrap. 

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I let it dry in the oven , with a wooden spoon stuck in the door to let moisture out, for about 5 hours until it reached the dryness that I wanted.  I rolled it up while still warm and sliced it into serving pieces, which are stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

I would like to try making fruit leather again, maybe with peaches.  However, although every source I found said it was safe to put plastic wrap in the oven at such low temperatures, I’m not completely convinced that it is.  Maybe waxed paper would work.

What’s your experience with drying? Have you ever made fruit leather, and if so, do you think I could replace the plastic wrap?

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Strawberry Jelly

Note: If you have never canned before, I highly recommend Joy of Cooking: All about Canning and Preserving and the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  These books will help you learn about safe canning practices and the equipment you will need.

To me, the most important thing about making jelly successfully is following the measurements.  If the measurements below don’t match the recipe on the package of pectin, follow that recipe instead to get your jelly to set properly.  I’ve made jelly in the past that doesn’t “jell” and remains a liquid, and it’s mostly because I tried to sneak in more juice than the recipe calls for.

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Start by crushing 4 quarts of hulled strawberries with a potato masher in a large pot.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

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Strain the berries using a jelly bag or cheesecloth.  Let the juice drip into a bowl for an hour or more.  You can save the berries to make fruit leather.

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When the berries have drained, sterilize jars by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes.  Let them sit in the steaming water until you are ready to use them.

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Measure out 3 1/2 cups of strawberry juice.  If you have extra, you can freeze ice cubes of the juice, which are especially good in lemonade.

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Slowly stir in 1 package of powdered pectin, and start heating the juice over high heat.

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Add 1/2 tsp butter to help keep the mixture from boiling over.

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Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

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Then add 4 1/2 cups of sugar, and stir to dissolve.  Continue to heat the mixture over high heat.

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Boil hard for 1 minute.

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Skim off any foam, then ladel into the sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Place caps on and screw on rings.  If you have a half-full jar, cap it and use it right away, storing it in the fridge.

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Return jars to the hot water.  Bring to a boil, and process for 10 minutes.  Remove jars to a towel or cutting board and allow them to cool, undisturbed, for about a day.

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Label jars and store them in a dark place.  Yield: about 6 1/2-pint jars.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes, Sustainable Living

Strawberry Cutie Pies

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Inspired by the mini cherry raspberry pies in this month’s Country Living, I decided to make my own little cutie pies.  Intead of using store bought crust and canned filling, I made them from scratch.  My recipe makes two 4 1/2 inch pies.

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  • 1 recipe pie dough
  • 2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of sugar

Divide the dough in half, then roll out.  Place the dough in the pie pans, trim the edges and crimp.  Roll out the scraps and use a star cookie cutter to make the stars for the top, which will be baked separately.  Combine the berries, sugar and cornstarch and place in the pie shell.  Place the stars on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar.   Bake stars at 375°F for 8-10 minutes, and bake pies for 45 minutes or more until crust is browned and filling is bubbling.  Cool and top with stars.

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Strawberry Pie

Thanks to everyone for all your thoughtful comments on my last post.  I must admit that finals time at school is keeping me from responding intelligently to each of you.  I also recognize that I must have been in a sour mood yesterday! Yikes!

To make up for it, I’m posting a sweet recipe today.  We’re having a little celebration tomorrow in the science department and I volunteered to bring a pie.  I’ve entered a berry pie contest in two weeks, so I’m testing out this recipe on the crowd.

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  • dough for 2 crusted pie
  • 1 1/2 quarts hulled, chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch salt

Roll out the bottom crust and line the pie pan with it.  Combine berries, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.  Pour into the bottom crust.  Roll out the remaining crust, slice into strips and arrange in a lattice pattern.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour or more until the filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned.

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The Best Strawberry Shortcake

It’s strawberry season! I was so excited to see “native” (a.k.a. “local”) strawberries at my family’s farm market today!  We celebrated with strawberry shortcake tonight. 

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There are three components to strawberry shortcake: strawberries, biscuits, and whipped cream.  This recipe serves 4, and can be easily modified for any number of people.

Strawberries

  • In-season strawberries from your area are the best.  Mash a quart early in the day, at least a few hours before you want to make shortcakes, with a few tablespoons of sugar or honey.  Cover and let them sit at room temperature so the juices collect.

Biscuits

  • Today, I used the fresh-baked biscuits from my family’s farm market, but if you want to make your own, try my baking powder biscuits or buttermilk biscuits.  I keep telling myself that someday I’ll try shortcakes made with raspberry-cranberry scones.
  • When you’re ready to make the shortcakes, slice four biscuits in half.  Spread them with butter, then sprinkle with a pinch of sugar.  Place them in a frying pan, butter-side down, and toast them over a medium-low flame.

Whipped Cream

  • You can whip the cream while the biscuits toast.  Combine 1 cup cream, 1 Tbsp sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with a hand mixer or by hand with a whisk until soft peaks form. 

To assemble the shortcakes:

  • Place the bottom of the toasted biscuit in a bowl. 
  • Spoon on some strawberries, then some whipped cream.
  • Add the top of the biscuit.
  • Spoon on more berries, then more whipped cream.

This is my favorite summer dessert! What’s yours?

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