Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nature's Bounty

My daughter and I headed out to my dad's house today. We spent most of our day outside picking strawberries and working in the garden. My dad and I put out a pretty nice size garden this year. He usually oversees all of the gardening aspects but has passed the baton on to me. He does do the rototilling (is that a word?). His rototiller is huge and a bit scary so that is fine with me. We put out some more green beans and potatoes today so we can have them all season long. We also had to weed in between all of the plants. Thankfully it wasn't a hot day so it wasn't too bad. In our garden you will find LOTS of tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, hot peppers, onions, potatoes, green beans, acorn squash, butternut squash, cucumbers, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, pumpkins, cauliflower, carrots, and some flowers. I think that is it. Ha! I hope to figure out how to can some of it and freeze some.

We also picked strawberries and my gracious dad let me bring home the bounty. Yummmm! I could just wash them and my family could eat them all, but I think I will make some strawberry goodies. Here is a picture of all our red treats. There was one more small box of them too.

I wanted to share some of my favorite strawberry recipes with you as it is the season of the strawberry! Get out and pick some if you get a chance.

Freezer Strawberry Jam
1 qt. fully ripe strawberries, crushed
4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
1 box pectin (like Sure Jell)
Measure exactly 2 c. strawberries and pour into bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix water and pectin in small sauce pan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Pour into strawberry mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy. Fill into prepared containers to within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe off top edges and immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. The jam is then ready to use. It can be stored in fridge for up to 3 weeks and in freezer for up to one year. Thaw frozen jam in fridge before using.
Makes 5 cups.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 - 3 T. cornstarch
2 c. water
Mix and boil until clear. Remove from heat and add 3 oz. box of strawberry Jell-o. Cool and add 3 1/2 c. fresh strawberries. Pour into already baked pie shell. Cover with Cool-Whip.
(You can also substitute fresh peaches and peach Jell-o for Peach Pie.)

Strawberry Bread
10 oz. strawberries, crushed
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. oil
3 t. cinnamon
2 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 c. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 bread pans. Mix together undrained strawberries, beaten eggs, oil, sugar. Add all dry ingredients. Mix in nuts. Pour into pans. Bake 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes and take out of pans.

Hope you are all enjoying something fresh this summer!

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