Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry heaven

I love strawberry season! Granted this post is a bit late, strawberries stopped being in season about a month ago, but my excuse is legitimate: we just moved into a new house. Now that the boxes are mostly unpacked and the the house is liveable I feel that it's ok to go back and relive that wonderful window of time when strawberries were cheap and delicious.

I was lucky enough to get to a U-pick during those few weeks and pick about 9 quarts of fresh strawberries. I froze most of them to use in smoothies and desserts this winter, but I also made a few simple recipes with some of the fresh ones. Oh and we ate a bunch. Nature's candy!
Many people like to make jam, but we're not big jam-eaters, and my husband prefers raspberry so I didn't bother with the sticky hassle this year.

Two things I made with my fresh strawberries were strawberry syrup and strawberry frozen yogurt. With the syrup I struck out on my own and tried my own recipe, which is good, but when used to flavour water the pulp sinks to the bottom of the glass. I should probably follow a recipe next time, but they all require that you cook the strawberries and I simply prefer the taste of fresh ones.

Strawberry Syrup Recipe

- 3 cups strawberries, washed and chopped
- 3/4 cup white sugar (+/- to taste)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Using a food processor (or blender if you don't have one) purée the strawberries until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice and blend well. Store in an easily pourable glass container. I use an old maple syrup bottle. Use on ice cream, in yogurt or to spritz up sparkling water or plain water (be sure to stir well before drinking!) Will keep in the fridge for a month or so.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

- 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and chopped
- 1 cup plain yogurt (homemade? :)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup

Again, using a food processor purée the strawberries until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in yogurt and maple syrup. If you don't have an ice cream machine you can just use a glass or ceramic bowl and place mixture in the freezer. Take it out every 15 min or so and stir well until the it reaches the desired consistency.

We have a great ice cream maker that just stirs the mixture constantly in a water-filled bowl that is pre-frozen. It's great for making any kind of ice cream that we are creative enough to come up with!

This frozen yogurt is very flavourful and light, perfect for a hot summer day!

To freeze strawberries, I just wash them, cut off the tops and place them whole in freezer bags. You can also quarter them, depending on what you hope to use them for. Even though preserving this many strawberries can be a lot of work and will leave your hands and nails stained red, it is worth it when you get to enjoy a delicious strawberry-banana smoothie during a snowstorm in February!

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