Strawberries are one of my favorite foods. Because it is high season for strawberries right now, last Saturday became the day of the strawberries at our house. I perused the blog world for inspiration, then embarked on a strawberry adventure.
First, I called around to local U-Pick farms and groceries to find the best price on strawberries. Fareway had the best deal. I purchased two flats of strawberries, 22 pounds worth, for $30. These were not garden strawberries, but they were fresh, red, big, and delicious. I did not have to get a sore back or sunburn retrieving them from the field. While garden strawberries win the contest for taste, they are usually small, resulting in more energy and waste in preparing them.
I used one flat of strawberries to make homemade freezer jam. Delicious! It has a slightly different taste than traditional canned jam because there is no cooking involved. It basically tastes like you are eating fresh strawberries. Freezer jam is incredibly easy to make. One package of pectin makes 5 total 8-oz. containers. I made 26 8-oz. containers from one flat. Here is what I did:
1. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar with one package no-cook-fruit-pectin in a large bowl. Let sit.
2. Puree strawberries in food processor to make 4 cups mashed strawberries.
3. Mix strawberries with sugar/pectin. Stir for 3 minutes.
4. Pour jam into container, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Let sit for 30 minutes. Store in freezer for up to a year. Or, use immediately and store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. (It is highly unlikely it would last 3 weeks in the refrigerator without being gobbled up.)
Next, I made a scrumptious strawberry cake. When Anna took her first bite, she said it tasted like pink! I simply made a white box cake according to package directions. Then I made the strawberry frosting. I beat 2 sticks of butter until creamed, then added about 5 cups of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract. Beat until a good consistency. Then, this is the magical part, add pureed strawberries! Use as much or as little of the strawberries as you want. In my opinion, the more strawberries the better.
I love making round cakes. They look so beautiful on a cake stand, and have the yummy frosting in the middle. However, in this case the bottom layer did not come out of the pan correctly so the cake is a bit lopsided and my strawberry ended up sliding off. Oh well. It still tasted great, like pink!