Picking My Way to a Perfect Summer

Updated: May 21

Celebrating National Pick Strawberry Day


Snappy Strawberry Freezer Jam
Michael Gomez at Westlight Studios

I have a few great loves in my life. One of them is strawberries. Their color, their flavor and the fond memories I have with them fuel my excitement every May when white blossoms give way to the beautiful scarlet berries.


Today is National Strawberry picking day and while I was not able to take today to stroll through lush fields to pick (and then of course eat) my weight in strawberries, I do want to celebrate strawberry season with you all. The Amish strawberries are at their peak in Lawrenceburg, TN so on my way down to visit Mama and Daddy yesterday, I picked up four gallons. You can never have too many strawberries. Not one strawberry in those four gallons will go to waste. I can cook with them, bake with them, freeze them, or turn them into delicious jam that I’ll use year round.


Today, I have gathered two of my favorite strawberry recipes from my cookbooks to share with you so you too can pick your way into the perfect summer. Hopefully, y’all were able to get outside and pick some fresh ones, but if you’re like me and weren’t able to, pick up the ripest you can find at your local grocery, farmers market or fruit stand.


First up we have Strawberry Creme Puffs:


Strawberries:

1 quart of strawberries

½ cup of sugar

  • Wash strawberries in colander and turn out on paper towels to dry. Hull Strawberries

  • Slice each strawberry into thin slices. Pour sugar over to macerate. Let sit about thirty minutes.


Creme Puffs:

1 cup water

½ cup unsalted butter

1 cup all purpose flour

4 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit

  • Heat water and butter to a boil in a 4 quart sauce pan

  • Stir in flour as it quickly becomes a ball. Remove from the heat

  • One at a time, stir in each egg with a fork, until mixture is well blended and resembles dough

  • Drop, by teaspoonfuls, onto a parchment lined baking sheet

  • Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden brown

  • Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Prepare whipped cream while the creme puffs cool

  • To prepare, split creme puff and place a tablespoon of strawberries inside and spilling outside, top with whipped cream. Lace a sprig of mint on top to serve


Whipped Cream:

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ teaspoon Grand Mariner or vanilla extract

  • Ahead of time, place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes

  • Place whipping cream in bowl and beat for two minutes, add sugar and flavoring and beat until stiff peaks form

And so no Strawberries are wasted: Snappy Strawberry Freezer Jam


4 cups strawberries

2 cups sugar

1 package Sure-Jell fruit pectin

3/4 cup water

  • Remove and discard strawberry stems.

  • Crush strawberries.

  • Measure the resulting 2 cups of crushed strawberries and add 2 cups of sugar.

  • Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

  • In a small pan, stir a package of Sure-Jell into 3/4 cup of water. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.

  • Remove from heat.

  • Add pectin mixture to fruit mixture until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.

  • Fill freezer containers immediately, leaving 1/2 inch space at the tops for expansion during freezing. Cover with lids.

  • Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until set.

  • Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year. When frozen, let thaw in refrigerator before using.

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You can find many more of my summer favorites in Servin’ Up Summer available for purchase here. It’s my newest collection of recipes. Servin’ Up Summer includes my favorite summer dishes, cocktails, and desserts. It’s a taste of summer in the South on every page. Available now for only $29.95.






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