Around this same time every year, we hit a U-pick farm for fresh strawberries. The next county over has some of the most productive strawberry farms in the country! Every year during and after the Strawberry Festival, a few farms open up for U-Pick.
When we first starting going to U-Pick strawberry fields a couple of years ago, we paid $1 for 4 quarts of strawberries. As prices rose, we were still able to shop around to find that same deal. The farm we visited for the last two years gave quantity discounts so I was still able to enjoy that same wonderful price. Unfortunately, the price has gone up to 2 quarts for $1. I know I shouldn’t whine since that is a great price compared to the price in the stores, but it’s still double what I paid last year!
Last year, we only picked 56 quarts instead of our usual 90 to 120 because a storm blew in. This year we only picked 60 quarts because of the price. After tasting this year’s crop, I’m glad my husband and I only picked 60 quarts.
|Best strawberry picker ever!|
Sweet strawberries need a good freeze to make them sweet. Our winter was very mild and very warm. Stuffing all those berries in my freezer will help them become sweeter, not as sweet as a good freeze while growing, but sweeter and more flavorful than they are now.
So, what does one do with 60 quarts of strawberries besides whine about only having 60 quarts of strawberries? Well, let’s do a little math.
One gallon of strawberry wine uses 4 quarts of strawberries.
One gallon of strawberry mead uses 4 quarts of strawberries.
One batch of strawberry jam that makes 3 pints of jam uses 2 quarts of strawberries.
One batch of strawberry-lemon marmalade that makes 3 pints of marmalade uses 2 quarts of strawberries.
One recipe of strawberry shortcake uses 2 quarts of strawberries.
One batch of strawberry syrup that makes 6 pints of syrup uses 5 quarts of strawberries.
|Can you tell I got tired of writing "strawberry?"|
Remembering that these are the only strawberries we will have all year, I will make more than a single batch of the jam, marmalade, and syrup. After I make my jam, marmalade, syrup, wine, and mead, and we’ve scarfed down way too many servings of strawberry shortcake, I’ll keep about four gallon-sized bags in the freezer for smoothies or for when I absolutely cannot wait another minute for more strawberry shortcake, which will happen about dinner time tonight, I think.
So you see, it’s pretty easy to find uses for 60 quarts of strawberries! Hopefully, next year’s harvest will be super sweet and plentiful and I can pick to my heart’s content!
8 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
½ cup sugar or honey*, divided
2 cups all-purpose or fresh-milled flour**
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Stir together strawberries and ¼ cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Refrigerate.
Stir together remaining sugar, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Combine egg and milk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir just to moisten.
Drop dough into 8 mounds on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack at least 10 minutes before serving.
Remove the strawberry and sugar mixture from the refrigerator. Spoon about one cup of the mixture into a blender. Blend at a low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir into remaining strawberry mixture.
To serve, slice shortcake in half, horizontally. Spoon berries over the bottom layer. Replace the top layer. Top with more berries and whipped cream. Drizzle a little extra strawberry juice and chocolate sauce on top, if desired.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill mixing bowl and wire whip mixing beater in freezer for at least 1 hour.
Combine whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in chilled bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
This shortcake biscuit is nothing more than a regular biscuit recipe with sugar added. Feel free to use your favorite biscuit recipe and add a little sugar to make the shortcake more dessert-like.
*Don’t like white sugar? Substitute honey. However, do not refrigerate the honey-coated strawberries. Have you ever seen what the refrigerator does to honey? Talk about a tooth-breaker!
*When substituting honey in the biscuits, add the honey to the liquid ingredients instead of the dry.
If dessert is all about the whipped cream for you like it is for me, then by all means, add a little on top of the berries in the bottom layer as well!
**Fresh-milled flour makes a great shortcake with a lot of flavor that surprisingly, doesn’t overpower the taste of the strawberries. Since this is a non-yeast pastry, use a soft wheat.
Frozen strawberries work just as well as fresh strawberries. Because strawberries get sweeter with freezing and create a nice thick juice, frozen strawberries may even be a better choice!
Enjoy! Jared sure did!
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