As I mentioned before it's summer here in Australia and that means Strawberries! You can buy strawberries all year round but they are more expensive out of season and grown in greenhouses or imported from overseas.
Summertime is a good reminder to shop in season as the produce is so much sweeter and juicier when grown in season and it's better for your shopping budget as things are less expensive when purchases in season.
Strawberries are great fun to grow in the garden so long as they have a nice sunny spot. When planting make sure they are 30 cm apart, in well drained soil and have plenty of manure and compost added to their soil. Surround the plants with straw and keep well watered over the summer.
Kids will love watching the bees pollinate the plants and seeing the little white flowers turn into lovely red fruit!
How to Use?
A good point to keep in mind when buying or harvesting strawberries is that they go bad fast, so the sooner you eat them the better. To keep them a little longer, when you get them home lightly wash them in a mixture of 1 part white to 2 parts water. Pat dry and store in a container. The vinegar will inhibit any mold growth but will be so subtle it won't effect their flavor.
Add to the following homemade items:
- Cakes, slices and muffins
- Ice-cream, ice lollies and yogurts
- Milkshakes and cheesecakes
- Dips for Fruit
- Soft drinks
Top these favorites with Strawberries:
- Pancakes and crepes
- Cakes and slices
- Pavlova's and meringues
750g Strawberries cleaned and hulled (make sure they are sweet ones)
500g freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cook ingredients for 4-5 minutes at a temperature not greater than 90 degrees Celsius otherwise the strawberries will lose their color.
Process the fruit to a smooth consistency. Keep in an airtight container or sterilized jar.
Add a tablespoon to your favorite glass of soda water or Schweppes Lemonade - Delicious!
This is an adapted Thermomix recipe that my friend Heidi gave me. She gave us jars of this mixture as a Christmas gift. What a lovely idea!
MOO Microwave Strawberry Jam
Ingredients1.1 lb strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
1 cup white sugar
1 large lemon, juiced
Place strawberries into a 6 quart capacity microwave safe bowl. Add sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice.
Microwave uncovered for 4 minutes on high.
Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Microwave for a further 15 minutes on high (jam will still be a little runny) or until jam reaches setting point.
Spoon Jam into hot sterilized jars and seal.
Turn upside down for 2 minutes and then turn upright to allow cooling.
Once opened can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 months.
You can use raspberries if you prefer. Just replace strawberries with 1.1 lbs of frozen raspberries.
Bec Taylor hates to cut pumpkin so gets Mr Taylor to do it ... the only good purpose for him in the kitchen! That and jar opening ...