Farm where you are....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry summer...

In Chicago, it's a fleeting strawberry season. In fact, so quick that it's only around for two weeks before the peaches move in and reign. This is the time of year when the berries have that full, sweet, "real" strawberry taste, and not that bland, disappointing, dense nothingness when they are out of season.

Even though I've made freezer jam;I wanted to make strawberry syrup. My kids love that crappy, junky goop in a squeeze bottle that is stirred into milk and I wanted something natural that they could put in instead. I must admit, 2 tablespoons in milk is pure heaven.
I love this syrup recipe. It can even be poured over ice cream, pancakes, almost anything, and I keep it in my deep freeze in little freezer-safe canning jars to have summer memories all through the dark winter months.

All you need is 2 cups crushed, hulled strawberries ( I used a hand blender.)
(After you puree it, you can run it through a sieve to get the pulp and seeds out.We don't mind it and I am lazy, so I left mine in.)
1- 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sugar depending on how sweet the berries are.
1/4 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Put the puree and the other ingredients in a sauce pan and cook it over low heat, stir until the sugar melts.
Bring it up to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, simmer over low. Skim the foam from the top. Save it though! You can still use it!
(Be careful on the stove not to splash, because it's basically a boiled syrup and burns can be bad.)

This recipe made enough to fill 8 of those mini-canning jars. Let cool, pour in, put the lids on and keep in the freezer for up to 1 year or the fridge for 3 weeks. So easy!
Take the left-over stuff you skimmed and give it a quick 30-40 second zap in the microwave, making sure it doesn't boil over and let it cool before handling. The foam will settle and there will be much less to skim off and less syrup wasted. You'll end up with almost one extra jar.

Eat that one first, and then enjoy the fresh, sweet summer taste all year 'round.

: ) Jen

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