Friday, June 6, 2008

Strawberries and Experiments

Today my brother-in-law Hollis with 5 year old Grandson Pearce and I again picked up Strawberries from the Amish family. I picked up 4 more gallons of beautiful Strawberries. (I can't remember the variety.)

Richard and I quickly hulled and halved them. He is so fast at such things. Then I put them into bags. I took the bags straight to the freezer, 4 or 5 at a time. It was amazing how quickly they were starting to deteriorate. This is the way that my sister-in-law Deleta does them.

Two days ago, Melanie and I had hulled them. We put them onto a cookie sheet or cake pan with their tops down. They were a work of art. Then they went straight to the freezer. The next morning, I put them into freezer bags. I like them this way. They are beautiful served and it is easy to take just the amount you want from the bag at serving time. But I wonder: Are they more apt to suffer freezer burn? I do not like that taste. Ick! So this time, I tried them Deleta's way. There will definitely be less surface area than with the distinct berries and that should make a difference.

I also decided to make Strawberry Jam. I used a recipe from an Amish cookbook, which calls for Strawberries, Apple Juice, Lemon Juice, and Honey. I used chopped Apples because I had no juice. I think the Apple Juice is added for pectin. Next time I will use grated Apples, a Granny Smith if I can find an organic one. Green Apples have more pectin, so I am told. I suspect that the Lemon Juice stabilizes the color. The color was beautiful. The Strawberries, while good, do not have the richest of flavor. So the Lemon Juice and Honey were a little more pronounced than my taste. I remember that we got Strawberries from down around the Macon area last year and their flavor was terrific. Next time I shall use such berries (if available), grated Apples, same amount of Lemon Juice, but 3/4 of the sweetener (half White Sugar and half Honey).

I want to serve this on biscuits dripping with butter, over ice cream, or drizzled down a stack of pancakes or waffles. Richard and I just had ice cream with 2 Strawberries Pearce had picked for us and the Strawberry Jam I made today. Our dessert was yummy and it was beautiful.

I think I am destined to coming up with my own recipe for Strawberry Jam. I remember going to a tea shop in Totnes, England. I had Scones, Clotted Cream and a wonderful soft flowing Strawberry Jam on top. The English side of me certainly has a taste for such things. I am up for a wonderful adventure.

My notes say that as of today, we have 19 quart and 4 gallon freezer bags of Strawberries (about 2/3 full), and 4 1/2 half pints of Strawberry Jam. (Until about an hour ago, I had 5 half pints.)

These are such beautiful days of grand and noble experiments with the Earth's produce that She serves for my family and me.

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