Monday, June 27, 2011

strawberries strawberries strawberries

We went strawberry-picking in the Valley on Thursday, so this weekend was spent in extreme gluttony and enjoyment. Not that anyone needs help using up strawberries, but since we're supposed to be getting three more quarts this week in Taproot's veggie and fruit boxes (whee!) I thought I'd post some of the things we've been doing with the berries.

Saturday breakfast was strawberry crepes. Crepes are really easy, and I don't even have a recipe: you put an egg in a medium bowl, beat it, add 3-4 spoonfuls of flour, stir it in, add milk until runny, add more flour, add more milk, and keep going until you have enough batter and the mixture is smooth (stir very well or you will get lumps) and as thin as it can be and still hold together in the pan. Heat a pan to medium, put a bit of butter in the bottom, then pour in a ladleful of batter, whirl the pan around so the batter covers the bottom, and flip when the edges curl. Thin or thicken the batter if need be (my first crepe is usually a failure). Fill with chopped strawberries and maple syrup mixed with plain yoghurt. Yum!

Saturday afternoon Kenneth made strawberry jam while I made my family's strawberry glazed pie recipe. I’m a bit reluctant to publish this recipe, since it’s the one pie I bake (Kenneth is the pie-maker in our house) and I’ve never served it to anyone who hasn’t been impressed. The three or four strawberry pies we get a year in my family – as long as strawberry season lasts – are fiercely fought over and every last crumb devoured. My Dad once made this with corn syrup instead of corn starch; even then it tasted good ... if a little runny!

Strawberry Glazed Pie

(serves 1-6, depending on greed)


1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (or 1 cup crumbs plus ¼ cups white sugar, if you don’t buy the pre-crushed crumbs)

1/3 cup melted butter


1 ½ quarts of strawberries, hulled, rinsed and quartered

½ cup of water

¾ cups sugar

4 T cornstarch

1 T lemon juice

Mix graham crumbs and melted butter. Press into a pie plate, making sure the crumbs go up the sides to form a crust. Cook at 375 for 5-8 minutes, until it just starts to turn a slightly darker brown. Cool the crust completely. (I actually bought a pre-made crust this time, since it had no preservatives but the graham cracker crumbs did - go figure).

Crush one cup of strawberries in a small pot. Cook with water for about 2 minutes. Strain, reserving the juice; discard crushed strawberries (I use them in yoghurt). You should have about a cup of juice; add water if there isn’t quite enough. Return the juice to the pot. Combine sugar and cornstarch, mixing thoroughly; stir into juice. The mixture will be cloudy and opaque. Cook and stir continuously on medium heat until the juice turns clear and thickens. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat; allow to cool slightly (about a minute). Fold the rest of the berries into the sauce; spoon into completely cooled graham crust. Lick the spoon, spatula and pot. Refrigerate the pie 3-4 hours; try not to serve – instead eat it all yourself. Survive your family never speaking to you again – it will be worth it.

Saturday evening we had salmon with mango salsa (okay, the mangos weren't taproot, but the cilantro and tomatoes were!), oven-baked chips, and steamed beet greens; pie for dessert. Sunday morning: fresh berries, fresh scones/biscuits with new strawberry jam, and strawberry yoghurt. We have one quart left in the fridge; the rest we crushed and froze or froze whole, so we'll have summer-tasting (almost!) local strawberries all winter.


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