Last Saturday Sergio and I went to pick strawberries at the farm. There were more strawberries than the farmers had time to harvest, so they opened it up to u-pick and we took full advantage, coming home with 14 quarts - almost more than we could carry back to the car.
Christy, Nina, and Emilio came along, too, and enjoyed every bit. At first Nina picked indiscriminately but we intervened to show her which ones were ripe and then she proceeded to eat two for every three she put in the basket. Even Emilio, not quite ripe enough himself to pick strawberries, enjoyed the adventure, sitting with Tio Sergio and letting the grass tickle his toes.
We already had plenty of strawberries to go around at home, as I'd bought some extra at the CSA distribution on Wednesday. So to start our strawberry picking morning off before heading to the farm, we had a strawberry licuado and we finished what I thought was the last of the strawberry jam from last year (although I subsequently found another jar that I'd stowed away for safe keeping; the strawberry jam was our favorite last year and I wanted to make it last).
The next day the strawberriness continued as Farmer Tom and I taught a Jams and Jellies canning class at Badseed complete with 20 quarts of strawberries. We also had oranges and mint, and by the end of the five hour class, me, Tom, and our 12 students had completed three full batches of strawberry jam (one batch no pectin slow cook, one batch with pectin and one batch of freezer jam), one batch of orange marmalade, and one batch of mint jelly.
I still had quarts upon quarts of strawberries to contend with at home so I froze 6 quarts for later. I had intended to take a picture of the berries in the freezer, but I seem to have forgotten. I had cleaned them of their green tops and laid them out upside down on a cookie sheet and left them in the top of the freezer overnight. The next day they were a beautiful flat forest of fat little red bushes with a dusting of frost on the top of each. I gathered them into zip lock bags for safe keeping. With some of the remaining unfrozen quarts, I made my own batch of strawberry jam (with pectin) on Tuesday. Then on Thursday we had some out of town visitors so we made dinner and - for dessert - the long awaited strawberry dumplings. My favorite.
I forgot to take a picture of the dumplings, too, before we devoured them, but to be honest, they're not all that photogenic. They are, however, delicious and all gone. Not to worry, though. Some of those 6 quarts of frozen berries in the freezer will be the next delicious batch of dumplings sometime this summer. Can't wait.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 pint (about 2 cups) strawberries, hulled and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Place strawberries in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish; pour hot sugar mixture over strawberries. Immediately drop dough evenly in 8 to 10 spoonfuls over strawberries. Sprinkle dumplings with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar (and a little cinnamon, if desired). Bake at 450° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until dumplings are lightly browned. Serve hot with whipped topping or ice cream, if desired.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.