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We know summer is here when the sweet, succulent flavors of locally grown strawberries are available and ready for the picking.
With high temperatures and definite summery weather, the mouth-watering smells of these fabulous berries are almost as good as the taste, but not quite.
It’s hard to pick them without eating all this bounty, but thoughts of pies, shortcakes, parfaits and a multitude of other delicious desserts can help fend off the temptation.
Strawberries are wonderful alone, eaten right out of hand, or baked up into these delights, but strawberries also can be combined with many other fruits. The best known perhaps, is rhubarb, which is just ending as strawberries are coming into season.
There are others, though, including crisp apples. Together, the mild flavor of apples and the sweet, puckery taste of strawberries produce a unique, and wildly popular pie in my house.
I’ve also discovered a new recipe for strawberry and lemon marmalade, which I decided to preserve this year rather than the traditional strawberry jam. I hope the friends and relatives who usually are the recipients of much of my canning and jelly-jam making like it as much as we do.
But first, I can’t let the rhubarb season pass without offering one more recipe using the two traditional fruits – rhubarb and strawberries. This one is a crumble, which is slightly different from a crisp. A little more topping adds to this dessert. This recipe, as well as the apple-strawberry pie, goes well with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble (6-8 servings)
1 and one-third cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
zest of one lemon (grated lemon rind)
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 and one-half cups chopped rhubarb (the redder the better)
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
juice of one lemon
one-half cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
Combine all topping ingredients and refrigerate.
For the filling, combine the rhubarb and strawberries, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Spray a deep-dish glass pie plate with vegetable spray. Spoon in the filling. Cover filling evenly with topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Strawberry and Apple Pie (1 9-inch pie)
3 and one-half cups thinly sliced and peeled apples (Macs are my favorite)
1 and one-quarter cups sliced, fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
one-half cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine
pastry for a double-crust pie
1 teaspoon sugar
one-quarter teaspoon cinnamon
Combine the prepared apples and strawberries in a large bowl. Combine the flour, sugar and salt, then sprinkle over the fruit. Stir to make sure all
fruit is covered. Line a 9-inch pie plate with one crust. Add the filling. Dot with butter. Cover with second crust. Trim and flute edges. With a fork, poke a few
holes in the top crust. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the pie. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool.
And finally, this strawberry-lemon marmalade is a great topping for toast, muffins, or as a filling between layers of white or yellow cake.
Strawberry Lemon Marmalade (6-7 8-ounce jars)
One-quarter cup thinly sliced lemon peel, cut into 1-inch strips
About a half-cup water
4 cups hulled and crushed fresh strawberries
1 or 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 package powdered fruit pectin
6 cups granulated sugar
Use 8-ounce jelly jars with lids and bands. Make sure they are hot.
In a 6-8 quart stainless steel saucepan, place the lemon peels and just enough water to cover. Cook for 5 minutes, then discard the water. Add the strawberries and lemon juice to the lemon peels and mix well. Stir in the powdered pectin. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the sugar all at once and return to a full, rolling boil (one that can not be stirred down) and let boil, while stirring, for 1 full minute. Remove pan from heat and stir and skim off foam for about 5 minutes.
Ladle into hot jars, leaving one-quarter inch head room. Remove air bubbles by stirring each jar with a knife. Wipe the rim of each jar. Place lid on each jar, then the band. Tighten, but not too tight. Place jars in a canner. Make sure all jars are covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Let cool, then store.