Recipes, canning, preservation

We are always on the lookout for new ways to enjoy the delicious strawberries and produce we grow on our farm.  Below are some of our tried and true favorite recipes and methods for preserving our produce.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

 
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Strawberry Pie

4 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
8 or 9 inch bakes pie shell

Mash 1 cup of fresh strawberries and cook over high heat with 1 cup water for about 2 minutes. Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir into the mashed berry mixture. Cook and store until thickened and bubbly. Add a few drops of red food coloring for a deeper red pie. Place 1 1/2 cups of fresh, washed and stemmed strawberries into the baked pie and cooled pie shell. Pour half the sauce over the berries. Repeat the layers with the remaining strawberries and sauce. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

 
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Jane’s Chili Sauce

8 quarts tomatoes
8 medium onions
8 medium green bell peppers
3 T. salt
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1 ½ tsp. allspice
1 ¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 c. distilled white vinegar

To peel your tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes and then put all of them in your sink, with the stopper in so water won’t drain. Once the water is boiling, pour it over the tomatoes in the sink. The hot water causes the tomatoes to shrivel a little, so you can slide them out of their skins without having to peel each one individually. Once the tomatoes are peeled, put them back in a large pot on the stove, on high heat. Take a potato masher and smash the tomatoes in the pot to start breaking them down. Chop the onions, and green peppers and add them to the tomatoes. Add in the remaining ingredients and allow the mixture to boil rapidly for 2 hours. Once finished, pour sauce into sterilized canning jars and seal. Makes 8-10 pints.

 

Strawberry Jam

We love making strawberry jam–there is always an open jar in our refrigerator, and even though I always think I make more than enough to last all winter, the family’s appetite for jam always surpasses my stockpile.

This recipe makes about 8 (8 oz) half pints.

5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs)
¼ cup lemon juice
6 T Pectin
7 cups granulated sugar
8 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

First sterilize your canning equipment and jars. Make sure to have hands clean as your pour your jam into the jars! Then combine your strawberries and lemon juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in the pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add your sugar and stir to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Make sure you don’t skimp on that last 1 minute rolling boil or your jam won’t set up and you’ll have strawberry syrup at the end of the day (which is pretty fantastic over ice-cream..) At this point, ladle the hot jam into your hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Meanwhile, bring an inch of water to boil in a large pot. Place your jam jars into the pot and allow them to steam in your homemade boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check your lids after 24 hours to make sure they sealed.

 

Strawberry Cupcakes

1 box devil food cake mix (like Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 8oz cantainer cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

Make the cupcakes according to package instructions. Lightly grease the muffin tin and fill the batter almost to the rim of each muffin cup. Bake according to package directions and let cool. In a mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the strawberry icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Push the tip gently into the top of the cupcake and squeeze the strawberry icing until the cupcake plumps. Frost the top of the cupcake with icing. Continue with the remaining cupcakes. Garnish each cupcake with a fresh sliced strawberry.

 

Best Broccoli Salad Recipe with Jerry’s Sweet Onion Dressing

2 lbs broccoli florets, chopped
½ cup toasted walnuts or another nut of your choice
½ cup mixed raisins
8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ – ½ cup olive oil (as needed to get right dressing consistency)
1 sweet, yellow onion, peeled and quartered
¼ cup dijon mustard or another mustard of your choice
3 T. balsamic vinegar
6 T. sugar
salt and black pepper to taste

Coarsely chop your broccoli florets to bite-size and put in a large bowl. Add the cooked bacon bits, chopped onions, nuts, and raisins to the broccoli. In the blender, blend together the onion, mustard, vinegar, and sugar to form a salad dressing-like consistency. Pour this over the broccoli mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. The salad can be served immediately, or made up to 2 days in advance and chilled until ready to eat.

 

Julia Child’s Potatoes au gratin

This recipe has a few very specific steps to follow, but the final result is amazing. Hands down the best potatoes au gratin recipe on the planet!

2 pounds potatoes
1 clove unpeeled garlic
4 T. butter
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Swiss cheese (or a sharp cheddar)
1 cup boiling milk or cream

Preheat oven to 425F. Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick. Place in cold water. Drain when ready to use.

Rub the baking dish with cut garlic. Smear the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.

Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer and season. Spread on the rest of the cheese and divide the butter over it. Pour on the boiling milk.

Set the baking dish in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, the milk is absorbed, and the top is a golden brown.

 

Healthy Strawberry Smoothie

3 cups frozen strawberries
1 chilled or frozen banana (peeled)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup yogurt of your choice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 to 3 tablespoons honey (if desired)

Put frozen berries and banana in blender. Pour remaining ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately! This recipe makes a full blender’s worth, or about 4 servings.

 
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Freezing Strawberries

If you aren’t planning to eat your fresh berries a few days after you get them, freeze them so you can enjoy their peak flavor later. Wait to wash them until you thaw them–they will have better flavor that way. De-stem your berries, line a cookie tray with parchment paper, and spread the berries out in a single layer. Pop the tray in the freezer to allow the berries to freeze. After the berries have frozen, usually about 25 minutes, take the tray out of the freezer and pour the berries into a freezer bag. Put the bag bag in the freezer until you are ready to use the berries. They will keep for 6-9 months this way. When you are ready to use them, put them in a colander and rinse them off in cold water before using. The water will start the thawing process and bring out the natural sugars in the strawberries.

 
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Canning Tomatoes

No tomato season would be complete without a few afternoons crowded in the kitchen with big pots of tomatoes and endless canning jars. Being able to pull out a jar of tomato sauce or homemade chili sauce in the dead of winter makes the summer canning process worth it.

We bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes and then put all of them in your sink, with the stopper in so water won’t drain. Once the water is boiling, pour it over the tomatoes in the sink. The hot water causes the tomatoes to shrivel a little, so you can slide them out of their skins without having to peel each one individually. Once the tomatoes are peeled, put them back in a large pot on the stove, on high heat. Take a potato masher and smash the tomatoes in the pot to start breaking them down. Add whatever spices strike your fancy–at this point we usually add the rest of the ingredients to make our chili sauce (recipe found under our recipes tab) because it serves as a great base for almost everything. Allow the mixture to boil rapidly for 2 full hours, then pour into sterilized jars (see above for tips on how to sterilize your own canning jars).

 

How to Sterilize Your Jars for Canning

Ina Garten, the world-renowned chef of the Barefoot Contessa, wrote an article about 10 years ago that gave a wonderful set of steps to sterilize your jars for canning. We’ve copied it below so you can make sure you have a safe and clean canning experience!

Ina’s Tips:

Properly handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years.

Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two-piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum-seal when processed.

To sterilize jars before filling with jams, pickles or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.

Use tongs when handling hot sterilized jars, to move them from boiling water. Be sure tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.

As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.

After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.