i love going fruit and veggie picking. as my friends would tell you, i don’t have much of a green thumb (this is an understatement LOL), so this means i need to rely on local farmers to do the hard work for me. then i can swoop in when the time is ‘ripe’ and reap the benefits of all of their hard work. the very delicious benefits… these strawberries are from a late june trip to a farm about 30 minutes from where i live. they take you out to the strawberry picking field on a tractor-drawn-cart which is quite an adventure in and of itself, and on a 70 degree, sunny day, a very welcome surprise indeed. in front of you as you hop off the cart is a strawberry field with row upon row of the red little nuggets of yumminess, and others, like you, kneeling between the rows of plants hunting for the ripest, juiciest ones.
so of course i had to try one, fresh from the vine, or the plant, or whatever lol. and it was glorious 😀 then i get home with all of these strawberries, which didn’t seem so terribly plentiful in comparison to the trays and trays others where leaving with at the farm stand. but once it’s sitting next to my fridge, as i try to contemplate how to fit it in there, i realize how much fruit i really have! time to get to work! of course, many will be saved for slicing and putting in greek yogurt with agave on top, others for smoothies, others destined for cereal and of course those berries that were to be enjoyed in their natural unaltered form. so shall we start with a classic? a required by-product of excessive spring strawberry picking: freezer jam!
strawberry freezer jam
this is a recipe you can find all over, even inside the packages of pectin you buy at the store but i thought it would be worth sharing here. of course i’ve added a couple of twists of my own. another awesome thing about freezer jam is you don’t need special canning jars. i used “ball” jars because i had them, but there is no need to do the whole boil, sanitize and seal routine (although you DO want to make sure the containers are very clean!)
- 2 cups crushed fresh strawberries (i just used a potato masher for this)
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 package (1.75 ounce) dry pectin
- 3/4 cup water
- juice from half a lemon
- mix crushed strawberries with the sugar and let stand 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan
- bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for one minutes
- stir the boiling water into the strawberries
- stir in the lemon juice
- allow to stand for 3 minutes
- pour into jars or storage containers of your choice
- place tops on containers and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours
- place into freezer or in the fridge until read to use
the first creation in my newly purchased ice cream maker! i bought a Cuisinart, it is very nice from my experience with it so far! just make sure you get the freezer bowl in the freezer the night before you plan to make ice cream. i find it easiest to get it in the freezer and make the “base” for whatever concoction you will be creating the night before so where you’re ready the next day it’s very easy to bring it all together. also note, after the sherbet or ice cream has churned for it’s approx. 20 minutes it will still be soft. homemade frozen desserts are lacking the preservatives etc. of commercially sold ones, so you will need to stick it in the freezer (in a storage container of your choice) for at least another half hour to an hour to get it to a scoopable consistency. once it has frozen much longer than this, it will get quite hard and you will need to let it sit out for a little bit before trying to scoop it.
or you could just eat it right out of the ice cream maker bowl. that is yummy too………….
- 2 cups and a half cups hulled strawberries
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- pinch of fine kosher salt
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (use more of less depending on how sweet your berries are, and how sweet you would like this to end up. you may use a sugar substitute if you prefer)
- place 2 cups of strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. you may strain this mixture if you prefer it without seeds. pour puree into a bowl.
- stir in the milk, lemon juice, sugar and salt
- refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight as mentioned above)
- chop the remaining half cup strawberries into the small pieces (each strawberry into about 4 or 6 pieces, depending on the size of your berries)
- pour chilled mixture into frozen ice cream maker bowl and freeze according to the machine’s instructions
- about 5 minutes before the end of the churning time, dump in the chopped strawberries
- serve, or freeze an additional half hour or so as mentioned above.