So we've been to a local Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farm twice in the past 4 days :) The berries are super cheap, and absolutely delicious. And of course, it's just fun to pick your own strawberries! :) Needless to say, I've been making and baking a lot of things that contain strawberries. Look at all these wonderful berries. They really are as good as they look :)
A few recipes that we've tried and loved: Strawberry Preserves (yay for having fresh strawberry jam - will be saving some jars for winter) and Strawberry Cobbler (absolutely.wonderful.). Another I will try today is Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate (you can make your own?! I'm so excited about this one).
These strawberry preserves are fabulous. A little time-consuming to make, but well worth it. I'm not one who cans a whole lot (I wish I was, working on that...) so I was a little intimidated about canning the preserves, but it was actually fairly simple. There are a lot of tutorials online about canning and different methods. I chose what seemed to be the simplest - turning the jar over once the hot preserves are in it (and the lid on of course) and letting it seal itself (read below). I made jam last year using this method and it worked.
6 cups fresh, ripe, whole strawberries, washed and hulled
Boiling water (enough to cover strawberries)
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar, divided
3 One-pint jars (or 6 Half-pint jars)
In a large saucepan, cover berries with boiling water; let stand 3 minutes to soften. Drain water and discard. In a large stock pot, place canning jars, lids and rings and fill with enough water to cover completely. Bring to a slow boil. This will sterilize the jars and lids. I let mine slow boil while I was working on the preserves.
Combine berries and 3 cups of the sugar in a 6 to 8 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; continue to boil slowly on medium heat 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining 3 cups sugar and lemon juice. Boil 10 minutes more, stirring constantly. Using a candy thermometer, bring to the jelling stage of 220-225 degrees F.
Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam with metal spoon for about 2 minutes.
Remove one jar, lid and ring from the boiling water with tongs and place on a clean, dry towel. Ladle hot preserves into jar and leave about 1/4" headspace at the top. Wipe the mouth of the jar with a clean cloth, place the lid and ring on and close tightly (not too tightly, but not loosely). Turn the jar upside down (Be careful! The jar as well as the preserves inside are HOT!). Repeat with remaining jars until finished. Wait an hour before turning the jars back over. Be sure to check the the top has inverted down and doesn't move when you press on it. If it does, you need to try again with sealing it.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
3 cups mashed strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup Self Rising Flour
1 cup Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in an oven (or microwave) safe bowl. Add strawberries and stir to combine. Pour into 9"x13" greased baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour and milk. Stir well to combine. Pour over strawberry mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream :) This cobbler is amazing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. :)
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
6 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
4 cups fresh lemon juice
6 cups sugar
*You can skip the processing part if you would rather freeze the concentrate. Freeze in 1 to 2 cup portions.
Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Mix berries, lemon juice and sugar in a large pot and heat to 190 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Do NOT boil.
Ladle concentrate mixture into hot, sterilized jars (boil jars and lids to sterilize- see recipe above about sterilizing jars), leaving about 1/4" headspace at the top.
To process, place closed jars of concentrate in a boiling water bath (covered completely with boiling water in pot) for 20 minutes.
EDITED: I forgot to show serving info, thanks lundgren79! :) To serve: Mix 1/4 cup (2 oz.) concentrate with 1-1½ cups (about 10-12 oz.) water, ginger ale, or club soda. For an extra treat, top with a lemon slice or strawberry, or both :) Originially I had said mix equal parts, but the above proportion works perfectly with water. :)
EDITED AGAIN: Ok, so I made the recipe today (4/29/10) and have a couple of adjustments and tips that I found worked well. I followed the recipe and ended up canning 4 pints worth in pint jars, and instead of doing the boiling water bath as suggested, I tried the "flip the jar over once it is full and the lid is on tight". And they sealed perfectly! Much easier than doing the water bath (for me it was easier, I don't have a stock pot big enough to do the water bath in).
I also decided to freeze single servings in baby food containers (I saved them from when my son ate baby food- they're great for putting snacks in because they have a top - yay for reusing!). Each container holds about 1/4 cup (2 oz.). I mixed one single serving (1/4 cup) with about 10-12 oz. of water - a regular sized drinking glass and it came out PERFECT. Originally my recipe said mix equal parts of concentrate and water or soda, but that would have been waaaay to sweet and heavy. I haven't tried it with ginger ale, so if you try it with that, I would experiment to get the right proportion. Enjoy! :)