07 July 2008

Strawberries: with glee and great abandon

strawberry preserves
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

Just about every summer, I like to buy strawberries when they're in season and delicious and cheap and make a bunch of things to enjoy both right away and during the winter. I went a little overboard this year. On Saturday, I bought 2 flats (24 pints) of organic strawberries from the Jean Talon market. I washed all of them and put 24 cups (only about 10 pints worth) into my giant stockpot to macerate with some sugar and lemon juice.

On Sunday morning, I made a delicious orange-yogourt loaf cake to go with strawberries. I used lemon and lime zest and orange juice from concentrate since I didn't actually have an orange on hand. This recipe promises to become a new favourite. It whipped together very quickly and the result was sweet enough to be a tea cake, but also pleasant for breakfast.

I also made a strained strawberry juice, but forgot to take any pictures. Just imagine a long length of nylon tulle, folded up and pinned with clothespegs over a stripy bowl. A splodgey mass of mashed strawberry, cooked with some fresh mint and basil leaves, sat on this, slowly dripping essence-of-summer into the purple-and-pink bowl. I was left with mostly-juice-free, but still yummy strawberry pulp, so I attempted to make a summer berry and bread pudding thing. It turned out yummy, but didn't exactly work since it relies on the juices completely soaking the bread and I only added a stingy couple spoons back. Sometime I'll actually have to follow the recipe, which calls for a variety of different berries.

On Sunday afternoon, I turned the macerated strawberries into a syrupy jam. The recipe is from my Mom and while not really jammy enough for toast, it's excellent on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and porridge. I may try some over a slice of my orange-yogourt cake. It was very satisfying to listen to the ping of my jam pots as the proper seal formed. I managed to get nearly 14 assorted pots of strawberry preserve. I labelled some of them with some old paper labels that were my Grandmother's.

After all this, and still with boxes of strawberries in the fridge, I was a bit worn out. So I took a picnic to the park and lolled in the dappled sunlight near the fountain with my sweetie. Feeling a bit peckish, we stopped for poutine on the way home. In the evening, I finished reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's collection of articles, titled "Hugh Fearlessly Eats-it-all". All in all, a very lovely weekend. (And now, I just have to make a strawberry tart, strawberry purée, and maybe some strawberry frozen yogourt.)