Strawberry Time!

Hello friends,

Our local farms offer pick your own strawberry fields, I can't resist. Each June, my Mom and I took my sons to pick berries fresh from the farm. My Mom is no longer able to go but I still enjoy the experience. Nothing can beat that sweet juicy tangy aroma and taste. These are such a treat compared to the flavorless supermarket berries that are shipped in from other states.

Acres of fields of glossy red beauties, filling the air with fragrance,
shining in the summer sun ready for harvest.

I picked 16 quarts, it only took a little while. I was home by 10 AM.

We always have homemade strawberry shortcake with sweetened biscuits and fluffy mounds of freshly whipped heavy cream enriched with pure vanilla which is the perfect foil for the rich aromatic berries. This dessert was a favorite of my Father-in-law along with my homemade butterscotch and./or apple pies. When I picked the berries, I would let him know and he would come up for dessert which we enjoyed on the terrace. Pap, Tom and Tommy liked theirs with ice cream , the rest of the family preferred fresh whipped cream as the only adornment.
I always think of Pap when we savor this seasonal delight.

Here is the recipe for shortcake.  You can also do a quicker version using Bisquick, the recipe is on the box and tastes very good, too.

Soapsmith's Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup cold half-and-half, whole milk, or buttermilk

whipped cream topping
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat to 425 degrees. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and 3 Tbs. sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter until crumbly. Combine egg and half-and-half; pour into flour mixture. Lightly blend with a fork to form large clumps. If needed you can add a little more half-and-half to the bowl if dough won't come together.

Drop into large dollops about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. It is best served warm, you can reheat leftovers in the microwave for a few seconds.

Hull and slice fresh berries with sugar in a bowl; let stand until sugar dissolves. Beat cream to soft peaks, gradually adding 1 Tb. sugar at a time then vanilla.

Split each cake crosswise; spoon a portion of berries over each cake bottom, then a dollop of whipped cream over berries. Cap with cake top and serve immediately.

We have installed a new strawberry planter this year.  Hopefully it will keep the berries out of the reach of the rabbits and deer.

The remaining berries will be processed into strawberry jam to preserve the summer sun for the deep dark winters.

 Wild strawberries make the best jam, they are tart and flavorful - of course they are tiny and require much more effort than tame. You need to locate fields and spend time gathering enough, but the rewards are a fantastic jelly.  Many hours of my childhood were spent gleaning the fields of wild berries of all sorts for my Mom to turn into tasty jellies and jams.  

Soapsmith's Strawberry Jam

5 cups prepared fruit (about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries)
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Hull and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time using the bottom of a canning jar to mash the berries. I like my berries to be lightly mashed so the fruit maintains some texture but you can do whatever you prefer. Measure 5 cups of the mashed berries into 6 quart saucepan.

Stir sur jel pectin into prepared fruit in sauce pot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. The water much cover the jars by 1 to two inches, you can add boiling water if needed.

Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid springs back, it is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

Too bad local strawberry season is so short...up next pick your own cherries from the orchard, yum!

Thanks for visiting,


These were the first two berries I harvested from my planter this morning.  The biggest ones I ever had.  Look at that glossy, deep rich color - so sweet, juicy and delicious and the fragrance is divine.

Reader's Comments

By Guest on 01/14/2013 @ 09:59pmJust found your blog. Pictures are great, and the recipe sounds wonderful for strawberry shortcake. Now I'm wanting some, and can hardly wait til June. Think I'll do desert crepes with strawberries and cream this week. That's yummy too!

By Guest on 06/22/2012 @ 02:29amLooks so good!

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