Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tons of Strawberries

Tons may be an exaggeration, but we planted about 50 baby strawberry plants last summer.  My girlfriend diligently fought the evil weeds and the tiny berry plants began to take over the garden.  Now, with hardly any effort on our part, the weeds barely have any room to grow! 

Last year, there weren't many berries and the creatures in the yard got to them before any were ripe enough to eat. This year, we managed to pick more than 15 pounds...even with the inevitable berry carnage committed by critters. Birds loved to take one bite and leave the rest to rot. We had a fat, happy squirrel that would actually eat the green ones. 

What did we do with all those berries?  Well, a couple of pounds are frozen.  I shared some with a co-worker who will trade us blackberries soon.  During the week, we made lots of smoothies and...of course, I started baking.

There was a delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp.  I used the recipe on C'est La Vegan, but want to warn readers that the berries need to be mixed with cornstarch or some thickener before baking.  The flavor was wonderful, but too soupy!

One night, I decided we should have strawberry shortcake.  As a child, I remembered these round yellow sponge cakes my parents would buy.  No idea if they are vegan, but corn bread seemed like a tastier way to go.  I went with the recipe for Sunny Corn Muffins from the ppkblog.  Isa never steers me wrong.  

Half the batter went into a muffin pan and the rest into a donut pan.  Corn-donuts worked out like those sponge cakes and I could pile the berries in the middle and put whipped cream on top.  The muffins looked just as impressive sliced with berry and whipped cream filling.


Side note:  My girlfriend still asks when I am making the corn donuts again.  They were great just plain.  One evening she even mashed up a broken donut into the soupy rhubarb crisp.  I made a face and refused to try it at first.  After much cajoling, I relented and it was surprisingly good. 

The other recipe I tried was Strawberry Bread from The Misfit Baker blog. It has a beautiful color and nice flavor.  It is very mild though so I could see adding some chopped berries to the batter. 

Unfortunately, strawberry season is over.  However, blueberry season is starting up.  We went to the farm and picked almost 10 pounds today.  (Our blueberry bushes aren't producing fruit yet.)  Soon you'll see posts about the blues!

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