Gail and I visited Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA on Saturday morning for some leisurely strawberry picking...
...The above photo shows the end result of our 'leisurely' strawberry picking: 22 lbs of strawberries!!
What do you do with 22 lbs of strawberries? Find ways to preserve them of course!! Here is what we ended up with(along with a few delicious recipes):
(9 1/2 pint jars of jam, 8.75 lbs of frozen berries, strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette, 7 1/2 pint jars of sugar free jam, 4 lbs of fresh strawberries)
While I set off to make jams and vinaigrette's Gail cut the tops, sliced, and froze these 5 bags for later enjoyment:
I made a fantastic strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette:
This was supremely easy to prepare and It will be topping my salads for some time!
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
yields 2.25 cups
3/4 of a lb strawberries, tops removed.
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil** (to reduce the fat I used half of a 1/4 cup, but the recipe calls for 1/4 cup)**
granulated sugar (optional)
Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor and transfer to a bowl. Add dried herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Whisk thoroughly. Slowly add vinegar and continue whisking. While whisking slowly pour oil in. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and/or pepper if desired. If it is necessary to balance out the flavors add a small amount of sugar.
As noted, the recipe originally calls for 1/4 cup of olive oil but I reduced the oil content to cut down on the fat. I didn't add any additional sugar to balance out the flavors and the vinaigrette turned out great!
I also made 9 1/2 pint jars of strawberry jam and 7 1/2 pint jars of sugar free strawberry jam:
yields 9 half pint jars
5 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
1 package powdered pectin
8 cups sugar
Sort and wash strawberries, remove stems. Crush berries and add to kettle. Add pectin and stir well. Place on high heat stirring constantly, bringing to a boil that bubbles across the entire surface. Add sugar, continue stirring and return to a full bubbling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim any skin off the top. fill and seal containers. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath. Let jars cool. Once jars are cool check the seals by pressing the center of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs back, jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated. Once open store in refrigerator.
Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam
yields 3 to 4 half pint jars.
3 pints ripe strawberries; tops removed
3/4 cup water
1 package sugar free/lower sugar pectin
1/2 cup Splenda sweetener
Cut strawberries and crush using a potato masher or food processor Place in kettle, stir in water. Add pectin and stir until well blended. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add splenda, stirring until dissolved. Skim any skin off the top. fill and seal containers. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Let jars cool. Once jars are cool check the seals by pressing the center of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs back, jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated. Once open store in refrigerator.
I made 2 batches of the sugar free jam because I thought the first batch had a poor consistency. I tried the second batch substituting 3/4 of a cup of apple juice for the water and the consistency was about the same. Both batches came out tasting like a fruit spread, so I'm not complaining!
A few of the Jams are going to be given away, but I'm guessing I'll be enjoying frozen strawberries, jams, and vinaigrette's for months to come! Anybody want to buy a jar? ;-)