Saturday afternoon, I picked up a whole flat of organic strawberries at the farmer’s market by our house. I had planned to only buy a half flat, but I got there right at closing time and the guy cut me a deal I couldn’t refuse. We’ve found it challenging to get through a few baskets of organic berries before they started to go bad before, so I knew I needed to get right to work on these babies to keep from losing any of them.
First up: Strawberry Vanilla Jam! I used the basic strawberry jam recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and added in a vanilla bean. After my second easy preserving attempt, this book is growing on me. I’m thinking the blood orange marmalade was just a fluke of horrible complexity. This is also the recipe on the back of the Ball pectin box, by the way, so it’s really easy to get your hands on it (though I couldn’t find it on the Ball website). Here is one of the resulting jars of jam:
Let’s have a closer look at that label, shall we?
Oh yes I did! I went there! And, yes — I am a dork! But how cute is that unicorn? Very cute, that’s how.
Sunday, Zach took Wyatt and one of his friends to the Robogames and Augie took a super-long nap, so I boogied and cranked out another batch of jam using the same recipe, but this time instead of the vanilla I added ground black pepper. The combination sounds a bit odd, but it’s really delicious. And you know what’s weird? Wyatt doesn’t like the batch with vanilla in it, but he thought the black pepper batch was great. Surprising.
I named this batch “Black Pepper Strawberry Robot Attack!” in honor of the robot convention that made its production possible:
OK, so two batches of jam. That should have made a pretty good dent in that box of berries, huh?
Gah! It didn’t even clear out half!
While I was prepping the berries for the pepper jam, I got more berries ready for a third batch of jam that I’m planning to make tomorrow: Strawberry Rhubarb. I would have made that yesterday too, but I need to wait to get the rhubarb at the farmer’s market tomorrow. I also chopped up a couple of baskets of berries for strawberry shortcake. We all ate as many berries out of hand as we could stomach. I gave one basket to our neighbors.
And then I ran out of ideas.
In the midst of my lamentations about this, Wyatt dug out a copy of High Five magazine and asked me to make an popsicle recipe that he apparently has had his eye on since September 2009.
The recipe is very simple, healthy and delicious. All you need to do is puree a cup and a half of strawberries with a half cup of vanilla yogurt, pour into popsicle molds (or dixie cups) and freeze. Basically, they’re just a frozen smoothie. They’re healthy enough that I let Wyatt eat one for breakfast today. And now I am officially Mom of the Year! (According to my son that is.)
So did that use up the rest of the strawberries? We still have one basket left. Perfect to tuck into lunches and eat for snacks.