Monday, June 11, 2012

Summery Strawberry Recipes

Strawberry RecipesIt's a yearly tradition in our house to go apple picking in September. And of course, a multitude of apple recipes follow. But for whatever reason, we've never done any other u-picking before (well, okay, we picked our own pumpkin last year on a hay ride. And I guess our entire garden is u-pick, huh?).

I decided we need to broaden our picking horizons this summer, and go on as many u-pick adventures as we can stomach (quite literally). It's good for the kids to see where our food actually comes from, it's a fairly affordable way to have some outdoor family fun, and I'm all for eating locally and as naturally as possible! I'm hoping to include blueberries, corn, and the usual apples in our picking tour this year, but we may throw raspberries in there, too. We live just east of an old farm town that has held onto tradition and passed their farms from generation to generation, and they offer u-pick experiences for all of these. There is one main farm family with so many extended relatives - I was just commenting the other day that they seem to own half the town! It's the rural version of a mob family. Only legal. And...ya know. Not at all like the mob. (I watch too much General Hospital.)


We had to race the rain, but on Saturday morning, we went out to pick Strawberries! They are ripe a little early this year, and most places have limited crops because of the crazy Spring weather we've had. The strawberry season is typically only 3-4 weeks long anyway, so it's best to get out NOW if you can! (For those of you in the southern states, your u-picking chances might already be over. Sad face.) 

The thing about fresh produce (as opposed to that found in a grocery store), is that it doesn't last as long or hold up as well. It's not so heavily treated and altered, which is a good thing, but it also means you need to use up what you've got - fast! If you want your strawberries whole just to snack on, don't wash or hull them until you're ready to use them - but know that you'll need to eat them up in the first couple days. Storing them wet will speed up the decay process. If, however, you plan to use them (or some) in recipes, you can prepare them ahead of time (wash, hull, chop) and store them in air tight containers with a dry paper towel (to keep them from getting too soggy). Again, you have to use these within a couple days - but if you know you're gonna cook with them - they're ready for you. If you're just going to make heaps of strawberry shortcake (and why not!), instead of storing the prepared berries with a paper towel - mix in some sugar and they'll create a yummy juice for when you're ready to use them.

My berries were really declining quickly, so when we brought them home - I washed, hulled, and chopped them ALL! Half were chopped fairly small, and half were sliced. I stored the slices with paper towels, and let the chopped ones juice away to stir into recipes. And for the past two days, I've been making lots of strawberry yummies!

My favorite so far are the strawberry buttermilk muffins. SO good! And in case you're wondering - I know that strawberry rhubarb pie usually pops into everyone's head when they think "strawberry recipes" - but I suck at pie crust. I've owned that fact ten times over. My MIL, on the other hand, is a pie crust master - so rather than attempt to live up to that, I leave the pie making to her.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have!
Do you have any favorite strawberry recipes?



Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins
(source)

1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg, divided
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a muffin pan. Combine 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; liberally sprinkle muffin tins with sugar mixture. Save remaining mixture for topping muffins.

Sift 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg together in a large bowl. Add butter to flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives. (You can also use an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed.) Stop mixing when butter pieces are pea-sized and smaller.

Whisk buttermilk, eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture stirring just until combined. The batter will be lumpy. Chop strawberries in chunks the size of blueberries or raspberries. Small berries can be quartered. Measure out 1-1/2 cups of the chopped strawberries and save any leftover berries for another use, such as a smoothie or yogurt topping. Toss 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup flour and gently fold into batter.

Fill muffin tins to the top and sprinkle with a generous amount of remaining sugar mixture. Bake15 minutes and rotate pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer and or until muffins spring back when lightly pressed in the center and/or a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Jumbo muffins will take approximately 5 minutes longer.

Strawberry Pops (by Martha Stewart)
(source)


1 1/2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled 
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup water

Pulse strawberries with sugar and 1/3 cup water in food processor until pureed, with some chunks of berries remaining. Pour half of mixture into a bowl. Pulse remainder until smooth. Stir puree into mixture in bowl. Pour into 3-ounce molds or plastic cups, insert sticks or wooden spoons, and freeze until solid, at least 8 hours.

To help the sticks stay upright, you can cover each cup with foil & poke sticks through or half-way through freezing, take them back out and then add the sticks.



Fruit Dip Cake
(my yummy creation!)

1 box angel food cake mix
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 7.5oz jar marshmallow fluff
Sliced strawberries

Prepare angel food cake mix as directed (mine had me whip in 1-1/4 cups water, and bake in an ungreased cake pan for about 35 mins).

When the cake is cooling, whip together the cream cheese & entire jar of fluff. This is actually how I make fruit dip, but I love to spread it on muffins and croissants, so I thought it would be yummy on angel food cake (it is!). Cover the cooled cake with the fruit dip "frosting".

This is best served chilled - add the strawberry slices on each serving, or just before cutting up cake (if you're serving the whole thing - since ours was just for our family, I'm adding them as we go).


Strawberry Butter (by Martha Stewart)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup hulled and coarsely chopped fresh strawberries 

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light about 1 minute. Add strawberries and beat until combined, but not totally uniform. Transfer to ramekins or small serving dishes. Chill until ready to serve, or transfer to 2 sheets of plastic wrap, roll each into log, and freeze up to 2 months. 

Thaw before using. Serve at room temperature.



Strawberry Shortcake
(our favorite version - adapted)


2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup milk 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Strawberries (usually 2 cups or so)
2 tablespoons sugar
Whipped cream (homemade, reddi whip, or cool whip)

Preheat oven to 425 (it takes forever, do it first!).

Chop strawberries to desired size, sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, and set aside so they start to make their own juice. My Grandma use to smash hers a little to make more of a sauce, but we like them whole. Do what you like!

Prepare Bisquick short cakes (mix first 3 ingredients, plop 6 large drop-biscuits on a foil-lined baking sheet) and bake for 10 minutes. We like them slightly underdone.

When you're ready to eat them, cut the shortcakes in half, pile on the strawberries & your favorite version of whipped cream!

5 comments:

  1. Fruit dip cake???????????? WHAT????????????????????? MUST EAT THIS!

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  2. Love the pictures! I can't wait to try the muffins; they look so good. ~ Sarah @ www.DailyMesses.com

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  3. Those look so delicious! I wish my kids would eat berries.

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  4. All of those strawberry recipes look delicious! We went blueberry picking a few weeks back and this year I really want to find an apple orchard and whatever else we can, like you said. So much fun with the kids, and yet also fun for you because you feel like you're really giving your family fresh fruit!

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