Tag Archives: strawberries

Fruit-Infused Vinegar

I can’t believe almost a month has passed since my last post, which by the way, was only a picture!  Lame, I know!  What can I say, life has taken a turn and unfortunately it isn’t in the direction of my garden.  When I take something on I throw everything I have at it.  In the past it was sewing, then food growing, and now my career.  I also happen to be someone who refuses to fail; when I’m told I can’t do something I will stop at nothing to prove you wrong.  Well, I finally hit a wall.  I’ve been struggling for months, refusing to admit what everyone else has been telling me.  I. can’t. do. it. all.

I can’t work 14 hour days, take on custom orders for PixyPatch, blog, and maintain close to 2000 square feet of growing space.  There I said it.  –>Insert HUGE sign of relief (and defeat).<–  Something has got to give and unfortunately it’s the garden.  Fear not friends, I’ll still be around, I’m just scaling back.  Way back.

Over the past month I’ve done a bit of canning, dehydrating, and cooking.  As to when those posts will actually make it onto OGT has yet to be determined.  I whipped up a delicious vanilla-ginger rhubarb jam several weeks ago and I’d love to share it while rhubarb is still in-season, but I make no promises! 🙂

I am however going to share a quick recipe for fruit-infused vinegar.  It is the perfect addition to all those fresh-from-the-garden salads!

Strawberry-Infused Vinegar

2 cups fresh fruit: I used strawberries but plan on trying cherries, blueberries, and peaches!

2 cups distilled white vinegar

Place fruit and a bit of vinegar in a food processor and purée until smooth.  Combine liquid fruit and remaining vinegar in a sterilized quart jar, add lid and shake.  Allow mixture to sit in a cool dark place for 10 days; shake daily to blend flavors.

Strain vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth or coffee filters and discard solids.  Vinegar will keep at room-temperature for up to a year.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of Put ’em Up.

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Filed under Infusions, Vegan, Vegetarian

Summer Berry Granola

I’d like to introduce you to the latest addition in my morning granola rotation: Summer Berry!  Yes, I know, sour cherries are not technically a berry, but the title “triple fruit” did absolutely nothing for me!

Summer Berry Granola

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup slivered almonds, raw
1 cup black walnut pieces, raw
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
a pinch of salt
a sprinkling of cinnamon
a sprinkling of vanilla powder
Toast the oats in a 9×13 pan for 15 minutes at 300°F, stirring once.  In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Remove the toasted oats from the oven and add remaining dry ingredients, except for the fruit, cinnamon and vanilla.  Stir until combined, then evenly pour the oil-sugar mixture into the pan stirring well to make sure everything is well coated.
Place pan back in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until granola starts to brown around the edges, stirring once or twice.  Be careful to not overbake your granola when using flax seeds.  Not only will flax lose its beneficial health properties when over heated, but it will also develop a smoky flavor.  Add dried fruit and stir.  Top off with a sprinkling of cinnamon and vanilla.  Allow to cool completely before placing into containers for storage.

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Strawberry Bread

I have a confession to make; I suffer from seasonal gluttony disorder, especially when it comes to strawberries!  I just can’t help myself, I have to put them in everything.  All the time!  I’m also guilty of squirreling them away, whether they’re frozen, in assorted jams, or dehydrated!

Sunday I noticed I had quite a few over-ripe bananas in my kitchen, so I thought banana nut bread.  Then my seasonal gluttony kicked in and I immediately switched gears from bananas to strawberries.

I used a basic bread recipe and gave it a complete overhaul; what I ended up with were two very dense, moist, almost dessert-like loaves of bread.   Then add a slathering of my strawberry-rhubarb jam and it was dessert!!

Strawberry Bread

2 C mashed strawberries, frozen or fresh

1/4 C oat bran

1/4 C flax seed meal

1-1/2 C all-purpose flour

1 C whole wheat flour

1-1/3 C raw sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 C sunflower oil

1/4 C coconut oil

1/4 C apple sauce

2 Tbsp orange juice

1 Tsp vanilla extract

1 Tsp cinnamon

1 Tsp baking soda

1 Tsp salt

1 C chopped walnuts (which I totally spaced on and didn’t realize until the loaf pans were in the oven)

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, orange juice, vanilla, and 1/3 C sugar; mix and set aside to allow the strawberries to release their juices.  In a large bowl, combine flours, flax meal, oat bran, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; whisk to incorporate.  Make a large well in dry ingredients and add strawberry mixture, oils, apple sauce, eggs, and remaining sugar; stir well, add walnuts, stir again.  Pour into two well-greased loaf pans (I use spectrum shortening) and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the loaf and comes out clean.  Remove bread from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

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My berry favorite time of the year!

Strawberry season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier!  I often entertain the idea of putting in a berry patch of my own, but I just can’t bring myself to part with the precious growing space for a 3 week harvest, especially since I can head to the farm and pick Josh’s.

Last year I decided to make all of my jams and jellies using low-sugar recipes; this year, after I talk to my local extension office of course, I want to make the switch from refined to raw sugar.  I assume the two are interchangeable, but I just want to hear it from an expert!  With the exception of my homemade jams and jellies, I rarely consume refined sugar.  Not only are refined products lacking in nutrition, but when you take into consideration that roughly 90% of sugar beets grown in the US are GMO sugar beets and of that 90%, over 54% are used in sugar production, we’ve got a serious double-whammy on our hands!  Sugar, like anything in moderation, is okay, but when taken to the level of consumption that we Americans do, it’s down right evil!  (I will now step down from my virtual soap-box.)

::UPDATE::  Turns out the two ARE NOT interchangeable!  Here is what the PennState extension office wrote when I asked about canning with raw sugar: The definition of raw sugar is the residue left after sugarcane has been processed to remove the molasses and refine the sugar crystals.  In this raw state, the sugar may contain contaminants such as molds and fibers.  In the United States, so-called raw sugar has been purified to remove dangerous contaminants.  There has not been USDA or Ball Company research using raw sugar in canning.  However, I can think of the following concerns for canning with raw sugar: If there are contaminants present in the raw sugar, it would increase the chance of spoilage of canned goods.  The flavor of raw sugar may mask the natural flavor of fruits being canned.  The color and impurities of the sugar may distort the color of the canned product.  I do not know of any research showing pH changes when canning with raw sugar—it is a possibility but I don’t know for sure.  The granular structure of raw sugar differs from regular granulated sugar; you might need more raw sugar to have the same degree of sweetness.  So there you have it folks, when in doubt ask!  I’ve found info online from “Betty Homemaker” and “Joe Schmo” about substituting raw sugar for white stating to up the amount of sugar by 20%; for baking, sure, go for it, when canning, hell no!!!  I’m following the advise of an expert!

Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam

1 box Sure-Jell Pectin for less or no sugar recipes
6 cups mashed strawberries
4 cups sugar
Mash strawberries and place in a large pot on the stove.  Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and add it to the strawberries.  Bring to a boil; add remaining sugar and return to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.  Wipe jar rims; add lids and rings.  Process in a boiling-water bath according to your current altitude, 10 minutes for me.  Remove from canner and place on wire rack to cool.  Allow seals to set, 12-24 hours.  Remove rings and store.

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Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Jam & Jelly, Vegan, Vegetarian

Strawberry Scones

I’ve been reading all things strawberry when it comes to recipes these days. Several weeks ago I happened to stumble upon one for strawberry scones posted by Annie, of Annie’s Eats. I was a little apprehensive about freezing the dough, but as it turns out they’re just as tasty right out of the freezer as they are direct from the mixing bowl!

I ended up making a few changes to the recipe, which I’ve noted with an asterisk. I’m also thinking about adding a bit of vanilla powder to the next batch. I had one small issue and had to get a bit creative which you will see in an upcoming photo. 🙂

Strawberry Scones
adapted from Annie’s Eats who found it on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally posted at Good Things Catered, with modifications by me. How’s that for crediting the chain of sources! hahaha

1 large egg
1/4 C plain yogurt
1/2 C milk
zest from 1/2 lemon*
2 1/2 C apf* (all-purpose flour)
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar*
1 tsp baking soda*
(You can substitute c.o.t and b soda with 1 tbsp baking powder. I however was out.)
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 overflowing cup chopped strawberries

In a small bowl whisk together egg, milk, yogurt and lemon zest; set aside. In a food processor mix flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add butter and pulse several times so that butter is cut into flour. Transfer flour mixture to a large mixing bowl, add strawberries and toss to coat. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and gently fold together until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough onto a well floured surface and pat into a disk approximately 8″ in diameter. Using a pizza wheel cut dough into 8 triangles, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze or bake for 16 minutes at 425.

Here is where I ran into trouble. My dough was STICKY, like turn the bowl upside down and it doesn’t move, sticky. When I made the first batch I followed the recipe (for the most part) and used 2 1/4 C flour. This was not enough, so when I transferred it onto my cutting board it just stuck to my hands. I coated the dough with more flour in hopes to get it to form into a workable state. No such luck. Solution, chill it in the freezer. Problem, my cutting board is quite large and my ice maker is in the way. Solution, creative stacking!

Once my dough chilled, approximately 10 minutes, I was able to carefully remove it from the cutting board using my spatula and individually wrap each scone.
At this point you can either freeze the individual servings or bake them to be consumed in the next hour or so. Due to the high amount of water in strawberries they tend to make your baked good soggy if left uneaten. Not that these tasty pastries will be hanging around your kitchen for long! If you plan on baking direct from the freezer add an additional 2-3 minutes to your bake time.

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Filed under Baking, Vegetarian

The Sweet Taste of (Almost) Summer

I’ve been berry busy this week making sure all those tasty strawberries I picked last Sunday found their way into delectable edibles.  Translation: quality time with my canner!  I also ended up with my first burn of the season.  Unfortunately, I know it won’t be my last.  One day I will have a large kitchen with a nice big stove.  Then, I won’t be reaching over my canner for the back burners and constantly cooking the skin on my forearms!

Ask anyone their favorite fruit and I’m willing to bet 9 out of 10 give the answer strawberries.  Unfortunately, the growing season is wicked short, especially for Early Glow, which happens to be my favorite variety!  It lasts about 10 days, so if you blink, they are gonna be gone!  Since this particular jam is a favorite among the members of my family, I decided to make 3 batches this year.  I’m also making a conscious effort to cut back on my sugar intake, so I decided to try the low-sugar pectin.  It reduces the required amount of sugar by 3 cups, and I was delighted to find the end result was still a very sweet and tasty jam!

(Can’t tell it’s) Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam
1 box Sure-Jell Pectin for less or no sugar recipes
6 cups mashed strawberries
4 cups sugar
Mash strawberries and place them in a large pot on the stove.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar with the pectin and add it to the strawberries.  Bring to a boil.  Add remaining sugar and bring back to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.  Wipe jar rims, add lids and rings.  Process in a boiling-water bath according to your current altitude, 10 minutes for me.  Remove from canner and place on wire rack to cool.  Allow seals to set, 12-24 hours.  Remove rings and store.

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Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Jam & Jelly, Vegan, Vegetarian

Guess What I’ve Been Picking?

Today I spent several hours on the farm picking strawberries. Can we say jam, shortcake and smoothies!!

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Filed under Micro-farming