Strawberries

Strawberry Muffins

by Shawnda on April 17, 2012

in Breakfast,Fruit,Lighter & Healthier,Muffins and Scones,Strawberries

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

The first signs of spring hit southeast Texas nearly two months ago. We swam (with a leeeettle help from the pool heater), we started putting in this year’s spring garden plants, and we hit up a nearby farm to pick strawberries.

14 pounds of strawberries.

And I was leaving for a California trip in less than 2 days.

My husband took one look in the fridge, one look at me, and then walked away with the “at least it’s [strawberries] and not cats” face. His Daddy To-Do List while I was gone was two items long: 1) Make sure she really brushes her teeth, not just licks off the toothpaste and 2) Eat as many strawberries as humanly possible. And then eat a few more.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

The first thing we did was make fresh strawberry muffins. Last year, we made countless batches of Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins with our strawberry haul… but they’re a little less figure friendly than I’d like. We took our favorite muffin recipe, lightened it a bit, and added plenty of those “must eat tomorrow” strawberries. The resulting muffin is moist and tender, and studded with juicy chunks of ripe strawberries.

When strawberry season rolls around to your side of town, grab a bucket. Or to unlock the Hoarder Badge, 4 buckets. And your muffin pan.

Strawberry Muffins

A lighter muffin studded with fresh strawberry chunks.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Generous 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries (~8 oz by weight, after hulling)
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
  6. Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
  7. Toss strawberries with the remaining 1 Tbsp flour and add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
  8. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among cups, using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
  10. Sprinkle tops lightly with coarse sugar, if using.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
  13. Will keep ~3 days in a covered cake plate.

Notes

Yields: ~18 muffins

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Muffins

Estimated time: 1 hour

Nutritional Information
Calories: 188.8 | Fat: 7.2g | Fiber .9g | Protein 4.9g | Carbs 26.1g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5

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How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

A few weeks ago, we headed down to a local farm, Froberg’s, to pick strawberries for the second year in a row. It’s a great opportunity to let the little one run around, pick strawberries, and pull out the camera.

We’re also big fans of the Jalapeno & Cheese Venison Sausage [swoon] from their smokehouse and strawberry fried pies… but this is about strawberries.

Beautiful strawberries.

How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

There are perks to dealing with 857% humidity in August, one of those being the ability to pick a couple of pounds of fresh strawberries in late February/early March.

Unless you’re a hoarder, and then you picked 14 lbs of fresh strawberries in late February.

I am a hoarder.

How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

2 baking sheets and large bowl full of strawberries. And we didn’t have to toss a single berry before it was baked with or eaten. This is how:

Wash your haul
I was always told never to rinse strawberries – just brush them with a damp paper towel – because they absorb too much water and it ruins the fruit and potentially the resulting dish. But you should really wash your strawberries, you just don’t want to soak them. I fill the buckets holding the strawberries with cold water, twist the bucket by the handle to gently swish the berries around, and use my hand to lightly press down/agitate the top floaters to loosen the dirt and grime. Carefully turn the berries out into a strainer and then rinse them off with cold water.

How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

Dry your haul
Gently turn the berries out of the strainer onto a towel-lined countertop and pat them dry with a paper towel. You want them pretty much totally dry, wet/damp berries will go downhill really quickly.

How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

Sort and store your haul
The best part of picking strawberries is that only berries that are red from end-to-end make it into the bucket, not a hard, under-ripe berry in sight! The downside is that all of those ripe, super-ripe, and almost over-ripe berries have to be managed in a way so you eliminate and minimize loss. Berries get sorted based on 3 categories before being stored in the fridge:
– Bruised or super-crazy-overripe berries go into a “must eat tomorrow” bowl. They were perfect when we picked them, but they ended up at the bottom of a 5 lb bucket of strawberries so they’re the first berries to go. They can go down as muffins or scones… or just get eaten straight from the bowl. Just as long as they’re used first!
– Picture-perfect berries go onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet (or 2) in a single layer. These will last several days, up to a week+ in the fridge (we polished off the last berries on day 11). I use a double-decker strawberry storage system: Fill the first baking sheet full of berries, move the berries around to accommodate a baking rack with legs/feet, and then set the second baking sheet on top of the rack. And it only takes up 1 shelf in the fridge!
– Berries that are scarred with a mark the size of a toddler bite-radius get tossed in the trash. If you have a berry-crazed toddler, you might find that 3 or 4 of these guys sneak into your buckets, too :)

How to Wash and Store Fresh Strawberries

Cook. Eat. Sort. Repeat.
When your “must eat tomorrow” bowl is empty, refill it with any berries that were formerly picture-perfect but now need to turn into cake. Or ice cream. Repeat until your 14 lbs of strawberries are gone and you’re left wondering if your husband will have you committed if you mentioned going to pick strawberries again.

What did we do with 14 lbs of strawberries:
– Strawberry Wine (woohoo!)
Strawberry Muffins
Strawberry Scones
– Roasted Strawberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream
– Roasted Strawberry Crostini with Basil and Goat Cheese
– Goat Cheese & Strawberry Panini with Arugula and Balsamic
– Macerated to top pound cake
– Sliced to top a spinach salad
– Eaten straight from the bowl for breakfast and lunch. And dinner. And dessert. And then dessert again.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but I sort of like the strawberry-goat cheese combo. We’ll be sharing some of the recipes over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

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Strawberry Soup

After an “exhausting” day of snorkeling, and lounging by the pool with bottomless rum punches on our honeymoon in the Caribbean, the Foodie Groom and I managed to tear ourselves away from paradise for a late lunch. In paradise.

After spending the day outside, we wanted something light and cool so we started with a strawberry soup. It hit the spot – it was cold, light, simple, and refreshing. More importantly, it wasn’t overly sweet. After I raved about the wonderful soup, the waiter graciously brought us a message from the kitchen: cooked strawberries and light cream. Easy enough!

Strawberry Soup

I think we were able to at least produce a worthy rival if not a near-replication… I mean, as much as one can remember after nearly 5 years :) It’s smooth, refreshing, and wonderful when served very, very cold.

Strawberry Soup

Cold strawberry soup is the perfect starter to any spring meal.

Ingredients

  • 1lb strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1 Tbsp sugar, plus more to taste
  • Juice and zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup milk
  • Mint, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop strawberries and place in a small sauce pan with sugar, orange juice, zest, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, squashing the strawberries into sauce with your spoon until they break down into a thick sauce.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Taste for sweetness and add additional sugar if necessary.
  3. Place chilled strawberries, yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in a blender. Puree. Stream in additional milk to get to the desired consistency. Chill until very cold, serve garnished with mint.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 2 hours

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Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

by Shawnda on April 13, 2011

in Ice Cream,Strawberries

Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, we made the drive over to Froberg’s Farm in Alvin to pick strawberries. I told myself on the way over there I wouldn’t get carried away and come home with something crazy like 8 lbs of strawberries. We can always go back when we run out, after all.

But when you’re standing at the front of a couple of acres of nothing but rows and rows (and rows!) of strawberries, it’s a little hard not to get carried away. So we came home with 8lbs of strawberries.

The Foodie Groom and I went digging through the plants, looking for the most perfectly ripe berries while the Foodie Baby toddled down the sandy rows, in a rookie-mom-mistake white shirt, reaching in and selectively picking her afternoon snack. Strawberry juice + sand = strawberry mud. And strawberry mud and white shirts don’t mix, even when it’s only a 1-inch visible section.

Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream was near the top of the list of recipes we wanted to make with our strawberry haul. We’ve made it several times before but it’s usually devoured before it and a camera come to be in the same room. The ice cream is tangy from the sour cream and lemon, sweetened from the strawberries. And a pound of the ripest, reddest berries yielded the prettiest batch of ice cream yet!

Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

Swap out the sour cream for greek yogurt for a frozen yogurt treat, or swap half the cream with buttermilk.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vodka or kirsch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Stir strawberries, vodka, and sugar together in a bowl. Cover and let sit for an hour. (I routinely start this after dinner and then refrigerate the berries overnight before proceeding with the rest of the recipe the next day.)
  2. Place sour cream, heavy cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Add strawberries and their juices to the blender and pulse for a few seconds until most of the strawberries are blended. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour.
  3. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its instructions.

Notes

Yields: 1 quart

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

Estimated time: 3 hours

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