Posts Tagged by strawberry

Strawberry Season is Here Again! Easy Recipes You’ll Love

It’s strawberry time! A new season of bright, fragrant, ruby-red strawberries always holds my attention. I’m tempted to load up on as many as I can carry and head home with little else, except maybe some heavy cream, and hunker down for some serious enjoyment.

We love picking our own berries at a farm not to far from our house. (If you’re in the Atlanta area, I totally recommend Southern Belle Farm.) We eat all we can fresh and make amazing stuff with the rest.

pick-strawberries

Look at this beauty!

But strawberry season is a long one, lasting well through June in my region. I’ve found that branching out to incorporate berries in everyday meals and treats really pays off. Creative, unexpected uses for them is one of the highlights of spring eating!

Strawberry Tips & Tricks

  • The freshest berries are glossy and firm and sport sprightly, leafy caps. Avoid berries that have white or green patches near the top, a sign that they were picked before peak ripeness.
  • Refrigerate strawberries for up to 2 days. Remove any that are soft, mushy or moldy so that they don’t compromise the others. Rinse berries just before using and pat them very gently dry.
  • Hull strawberries by using a paring knife to cut a small cone-shaped divot out around the green stem end. Watch this video to see how easy it is.

  • Strawberries freeze well, so consider buying extras when the price is right. Remove the hulls and arrange the berries in a single layer on a tray. Slip the tray into the freezer until the berries are very firm, 1 to 3 hours. Transfer them to freezer bags; they’ll keep for 6 to 8 months. We make smoothies year-round and reach for our frozen berries frequently!
  • Need to boost the flavor of tired or bland strawberries? Place sliced berries in a bowl, toss with a small amount of sugar and lemon juice, and let sit at room temperature 20 minutes.


Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade 1

Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade

Drinks

You can brighten up just about any drink by dropping a couple of hulled halved strawberries into it: seltzer, iced tea, Prosecco. But you can also make the berries the star for sensational spring beverages. Whole Foods has some great ideas! Irresistible wine-based Ricotta-Strawberry Pancakes is both refreshing and sophisticated. The Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade above is a wonderful nonalcoholic drink that looks fabulous in tall, frosty glasses. And yogurt-based Strawberry Lassi is a terrifically sweet, tangy drink that makes for a satisfying snack.

Ricotta-Strawberry Pancakes

Ricotta-Strawberry Pancakes

Breakfasts

Put a big bowl of sliced berries on the breakfast table and they’ll quickly find their way on top of everything from cereal to yogurt to peanut butter toast. They’re also a favorite in smoothies; try this healthy vegan  Strawberry Almond Butter Smoothie. For a leisurely morning you can’t beat Ricotta Strawberry Pancakes−they’re made with whole wheat flour as an added bonus. And for quick baking, I adore these Strawberry Cream Scones; you can serve them alone, with clotted cream, or make your own Balsamic Strawberry Jam.

Roasted Strawberry Spinach Salad

Roasted Strawberry Spinach Salad 

Salads

I always welcome strawberries in my salads.  My husband, not so much! I think tossing a few berries into a green salad is always a winner, so do it a couple nights a week during strawberry season. You can also go for an all-out flavor bonanza with terrific recipes like Watermelon and Strawberry Salad with Chile Vinaigrette or Spring Salad with Strawberries and Creamy Orange-Avocado Dressing.  And finally, one of the tastiest, healthiest dressing to make is Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: It’s fat-free, vegan and made without refined sweeteners.

How about a sweet salad?  Strawberry Pretzel Salad has been a family favorite for a long time!

Red Wine Strawberries and Cream

Red Wine Strawberries and Cream

Simple Desserts

Whip some heavy cream with a little vanilla extract and powdered sugar to serve with strawberries and you have all you need for a fabulous dessert. But going a step further will really pay off. Traditional Shortcake is the berry comfort treat most of us grew up with, and it’s still tops for serving on almost any occasion. A new classic for me is Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, a cake that can do birthdays, showers, Mother’s or Father’s Day, and much more. It’s especially amazing with this Chocolate Strawberry Sauce drizzled over the top!

For a sophisticated dessert you can go directly to Red Wine Strawberries and Cream, a wonderfully spiced dessert that combines star anise, orange and fromage blanc. And finally, if you see some particularly big, luscious, perfectly ripe berries around you’ll know it’s time gather some friends or family together to make Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

pick-your-own strawberry

Be sure to share your favorite recipes in the Comments below – I’ll be bringing home lots of berries next weekend.

Strawberries-picked-this-morning

 

Source: BlogsRelease

Peaches and Cream Jigglers

Peaches n Cream Jello

These tasty bite-sized Jigglers gems take the traditional flavors of peaches and cream to a whole new level. (Anything with condensed milk is a winner for me!) Give them a try for your next party or after-school snack.

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups boiling water, divided
1 envelope (1/4 oz.) KNOX Unflavored Gelatine
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 packages (3 oz. each) JELL-O Peach Flavor Gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Directions
Add 1/2 cup boiling water to unflavored gelatine in medium bowl; stir until completely dissolved. Stir in milk. Pour into 8-inch square dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Refrigerate 25 to 30 min. or until set but not firm. Meanwhile, add remaining boiling water to peach gelatin mixes in separate medium bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Cool until ready to use.
Pour peach gelatin slowly over gelatine layer in dish. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm before cutting into 36 squares.
Tip:
These are just as yummy when made with strawberry Jell-O!
I think the next time we make these, I’m going to try to use these silicon molds to make them in the shape of Legos!  My nephews will love them! Or maybe these flower-shaped molds for a garden party this summer?

Source: BlogsRelease

Easy Pavlova – The Most Beautiful and Simple Dessert

Pavlova

It’s just gorgeous! This easy pavlova dessert can be on your table tonight!

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday and asked my daughter to make me a pavlova. I’ve never tried one and I’ve always admired how delicate and pretty they are. Little did I know that there was a surprise party coming my way and the cake was already taken care of!  Still a little obsessed, I set out the next weekend to make a pavlova myself.

While I started off a bit intimidated, I soon figured out that this is one of the simplest desserts to make. There are endless varieties and the visual impact is huge! This is a yummy confection that will impress anyone.

You know what they say…if I can do it, so can you. Here’s how!


 

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Ingredients

Pavlova

6 egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fruit Compote and Topping

3 cups berries of choice (I used blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)

1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Make a quick fruit compote by combining 2 cups of berries (save one cup for assembly) and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once berries begin to break down and a syrupy juice forms, remove from heat to another container and refrigerate.Pavlova berry compote
  2. Preheat over to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, 250.)  Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper with a little powdered sugar or cornstarch sprinkled on top.
  3. Beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Pavlova mixing
  4. Slowly add sugar over the next couple of minutes.  Once incorporated, turn mixer up to high and beat for another 6 minutes until the mixture is shiny and glossy. For best results, the sugar should be completely dissolved.
  5. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and vinegar. Fold in just until blended.
  6. Mound the egg whites on the prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, form the mound into a flat, circular shape, 7-8 inches in diameter and a maybe 3 inches high.  Don’t overwork it.Pavlova Ready for Oven
  7. Place in oven for 1 1/2 hours – do not open the oven door during this time.
  8. Turn off the oven and let cool for another 1 1/2 hours. You may crack the oven door at this point.
  9. When the pavlova cools and you’re ready to serve, prepare the whipped topping by beating the heavy cream until thick. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and blend well.
  10. Assemble.  Carefully loosen and lift the pavlova from the baking sheet and onto a serving dish. Spread the whipped cream on top in an even layer and create a shallow well in the center to better hold the compote. Pavlova with Whipped Cream
  11. Add the fruit compote, then top with the remaining fresh berries. Add a few mint sprigs if you have them!

Serves 8.

Pavlova Slice


 

You can make so many different varieties of pavlova.

  • The fruit toppings are endless! We’re doing peach next, but how about just strawberry? Passion fruit? Cherry?
  • Another combination I’m smitten with is lemon and honey. Maybe a layer of lemon curd and a drizzle of honey?
  • Chocolate is very popular. Maybe a Nutella Pavlova…yum! Or Cafe Mocha?
  • Perhaps just tinting the pavlova with a drop or two of food coloring? I imagine some very pretty Easter desserts by doing that.

Have you ever made a pavlova? I’d love to know what you put on top of yours and if you have any advice?

 

 

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce – For Canning, Gifting or Just Eating!

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce Recipe

During the couple of weeks that I had a super abundance of fresh strawberries, I ran across a recipe for raspberry sauce (a Ball recipe) that grabbed me. I made the switch from raspberries to strawberries, and am living happily ever after with this delicious Chocolate Strawberry Sauce!

I started with these beautiful fresh strawberries from a local farm that we’d picked a couple of days earlier.  To get them ready for the sauce, I used my immersion blended rather than chop them because I was going for a smoother, saucier consistency. I left it a little chunky, but it’s really just a personal preference.

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce

There are only five ingredients in this Chocolate Strawberry Sauce! So much better than store bought ice cream sauces with all the chemicals and preservatives.

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce Recipe

After I added the strawberries and lemon juice to the pot, I whisked in my mixture of the pectin and cocoa powder. Be sure to do this before the berries are hot to avoid lumps.

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce

As the mixture boils, it will turn a deep, rich red color. It’s really beautiful! And the smell…oh my goodness!

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce Recipe

At this point, the sauce is done. You can put it in a container to cool and eat now, or you can proceed with the canning process.  I actually did a little of both this time! I scooped some into a jar and put it into the refrigerator (after it cooled a bit) and we ate it that night! The rest was ladled into half pint jars for processing.

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce

Don’t forget to let the jars sit for 24 hours after you remove them from the water bath.  Don’t you just love the sound of that “ping” each one makes as they seal? Our dog barks at each jar when he hears it…he hasn’t figured it out yet.

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce 5

This sauce is probably one of my favorites so far. I enjoy it the most over Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – my very favorite store bought ice cream.  Of course, this is the season for churning your own and I imagine that would just be heavenly!

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce 7

This recipe makes makes about 8 (8 oz) half pint jars of sauce.  Remember that it’s always better to work in small batches and 6-8 jars of (insert whatever you’re canning here) is about what you want to shoot for to keep things manageable and tasty.  I think I’ll try making a sauce with peaches next time…maybe a Ginger Peach Sauce?  Yum!  A piece of raffia and a little card will also turn these beauties into a fabulous hostess gift!

Chocolate Strawberry Sauce RecipeIngredients:

2/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp Ball RealFruit Pectin of your choice
5 cups crushed strawberries
6 cups granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best)
6 (8 oz) half pint jars with lids and bands

Directions:

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE cocoa powder and pectin in a medium glass bowl, stirring until evenly blended. Set aside.
3.) COMBINE strawberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Whisk in pectin mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
4.) LADLE hot sundae topper into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

strawberry-pretzel-salad

It’s strawberry season again! I can’t even begin to describe how happy that makes me.  In Georgia, we can usually begin picking strawberries in late April/early May. Places north of here likely don’t see these fresh beauties until later in may or even June..they call them “June bearing berries” for a reason, right?  Just the thought of walking through a field of strawberries that all beg me to pick them makes me giddy.

Check out these beauties at my favorite farm – Southern Belle Farm in McDonough, GA. We go here every year for strawberries, blackberries, fresh corn, even our Christmas trees and now, peaches!  If you live close by, check them out.

pick-your-own

Hubby waiting patiently for me to decide which row to start on.  pick-your-own

Shhh…I had to eat this one right off the vine. Don’t tell the farm!

pick-strawberries

Gorgeous, sweet, bountiful berries!

pick-your-own-strawberries

 Home with the treasure!Strawberries-picked-this-morning

While I do the “happy dance” over my beautiful berries, oddly enough, at the same time it also creates strawberry anxiety. I begin to worry that this small window of time won’t be enough for me to go down to the farm to pick all the strawberries I need to get me through till next spring. I fret that once I do make it home with gallons of strawberries, that I won’t be able to get them all into jars of jam, pies, salads, smoothies, or just the freezer before they deteriorate from their pristine condition.

Deep breath. I can do this.  I have a few favorite recipes for fresh strawberries that I can make over the next couple of weeks. One of the best is this delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Yes, it sounds odd, but you won’t believe how fabulous and easy it is!

Gather a few simple ingredients.

strawberry-pretzel-salad

Crust first. This is a mixture of crushed pretzels – and size or shape works fine – crushed pecans, butter and sugar.

strawberry-pretzel-salad

While the crust is cooling, I mix up cream cheese, more sugar and whipped topping to spread over the top.  This is the center layer. It’s important to spread this all the way to the edges to seal off the crust layer. This will protect is from getting soggy when you pour the strawberry and jello mixture on later. Pop this in the fridge to cool.

strawberry-pretzel-salad

The strawberry layer can be made with fresh or frozen berries. When I use fresh, I usually let them macerate in a little sugar for a couple of hours, then crush them with my hands. You can also slice or chop them – whatever you like.

macerating strawberries

Prepare the jello mixture and add the strawberries and pineapple. Pour over the cream cheese mixture and refrigerate until it sets up.

strawberry-pretzel-salad

Serve it up with some whipped topping or just by itself.  Yummy!

strawberry-pretzel-salad

strawberry-pretzel-salad

 

I made Balsamic Strawberry Jam last year – it was amazing on these Two Ingredient Biscuits!  So this time, I’ll keep it simple with some Old-Fashioned Strawberry Jam this weekend, then I think I’ll try a new recipe for Strawberry Chocolate Sauce.

In the meantime, I gotta go get another bowl of berries to eat. They’re calling my name…

Find out where to pick strawberries in your area right here and then get to pickin’!

Please share your favorite recipes for fresh strawberries – I need all the help I can get.