I’m blanking right now. What do you call it when you remove the stem on a strawberry? I’m sure it will come to me, but it hasn’t yet. We bought 14 pounds of strawberries this week … you know those sort of watery, stiff ones that drove in from California? I couldn’t help myself. It’s that whole gift horse, looking in the mouth thing. I am sure I’ll buy local delicious ones in the coming months, in fact, my own strawberry plants actually have flowers on them and if I can keep the snails off them we’ll be winners.
What, you ask, does one do with 14 pounds of strawberries? Can I tell you? I am not as smart as Erika who is hulling a bunch and freezing them plain (because then you can do anything you want with them any time). I couldn’t help myself and pulled out my trusty Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and started experimenting.
I made a double batch of the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Jen posted last week – half with fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice and half with “Real Lemon” (I’m sorry, but I had so much from last year’s Costco purchase and figured this would still be better than Countrytime in the summer). The Meyer lemon was definitely better, but the Real Lemon stuff was alright too.
I also tried the Quick Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade … thumbs down. It tastes like strawberry jam with bitter lemon peel. I know, I KNOW! That’s what marmalade is, but it wasn’t lemony enough to justify the random bitter peel.
I made cooked strawberry jam and freezer strawberry jam, both from the recipes on the packet of pectin. The cooked jam was the last thing I was making and I was a 1/2 cup shy of having enough, so I threw in a mango, and it still set up beautifully and now has lovely mango flecks in it. I still tastes mostly like sugar and strawberries, but now it’s prettier.
And if you have NEVER made your own freezer jam, do it today. Or at least this weekend. You need pectin, lemon juice, sugar and strawberries – and not even very many of them. Oh, and plastic storage containers to store it in. Oh, and like 20 minutes. That’s it. Super fast.
And finally, I made something called maple strawberry smooch. I haven’t actually tried it yet – just a small taste when it was wicked hot so I didn’t actually taste much, because it just barely filled the 4 pint jars I had and we have three other jams open right now. It looks like it is a nice strawberry sauce with a hint of maple, and we like maple, so it should be lovely over cake or ice cream, with yogurt, or in oatmeal.
But now that I’ve talked about strawberry products, let’s get to the meat of HULLING strawberries. Growing up we risked life and limb with slightly dull paring knives as we tried to get the green and white out. I have friends that just hack the green part off, but leave the little core in there. But there is a better way. Can you trust me on this?
You need a small spoon. A grapefruit spoon would be ideal. Watch this.
Did you see it? Now try it. Hold your spoon like a paring knife, stick it in the top at an angle and sweep it around. It’s like you would with a paring knife, but it’s faster and there is very little fear of actually hurting yourself.