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Strawberry fields forever

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

This week’s hot weather will surely bring out more fresh strawberries.

There’s nothing like a local strawberry, ripened by the sun, sweet through and through, red and juicy.

Patterson Farm is open and growers like Mike Miller are bringing strawberries to the Farmer’s Market. Maybe you are lucky enough to have your own strawberry patch.

After you’ve gone through your first box, impatiently ripping off the hull and devouring the berries as you stand at the kitchen sink, think about what you can do with  the rest of your strawberries.

Remember this: Do not wash and hull the berries when you get home, unless you plan to use them right away or freeze them.

The best way to keep strawberries is in the refrigerator, with caps on. Make sure to go through the box, if you did not pick it yourself, and remove any bruised or soft berries.

To freeze, wash and drain the fruit well, then remove stems and caps. Dry again on towels in a single layer.

Strawberries can be frozen individually this way. Once the strawberries are frozen, put them in plastic bags and remove as much air as possible before sealing.

Or, cut them in half or slice them, sprinkle with a little sugar and make sure it is dissolved. Spoon into a bag or container, seal tightly and freeze.

No Churn Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream

16 ounces strawberries

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

2 tsp. lemon juice

Using a food processor, pulse the strawberries until they are pea-sized chunks. Alternatively, dice the strawberries by hand and in a large bowl, lightly mash them to release juices. Cover with a towel and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in strawberries until just combined.

Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze at least four hours for soft-serve style or 6 hours and up to overnight.

Aberdeen’s Kitchen

Strawberry Icebox Cake

3 pounds strawberries, sliced

14 3/8 ounces honey graham crackers

24 ounces whipped topping

or

Homemade Whipped Cream

6 cups heavy cream

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

4 tsp. vanilla extract

To make with whipped topping, plan on using a tub of topping (8 oz.) per layer

Each strawberry layer is about 1 pound of berries

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping in a 9-by-13-inch pan just to coat the bottom. Layer five graham crackers across the center of the pan, then two more breaking them as needed to fit around the top and bottom edges.

Spread a thick layer of whipped topping over graham crackers and top with a layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat the layers one more time (three total) and finish with a layer of sliced strawberries.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until the graham crackers have softened completely.

If using whipped cream, beat the heavy cream to firm peaks. Beat in sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Use about 3 cups per layer.

Iced Strawberry Green Tea

1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, trimmed and quartered

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Zest of one lemon

4 cups iced green tea

Combine strawberries, sugar, water and lemon zest in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes. Strains, pushing down on strawberries to extract all the juice. Place in a covered container and cool completely in the fridge.

Use about 3 Tbsp. strawberry syrup to a cup of green tea. Serve over ice.

Variations: Use the strawberry syrup to flavor sparkling wine or seltzer water, or add to ginger ale or lemonade.

Big Girls Small Kitchen

Strawberry Lemon Bars

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

1 1/4 cup slices fresh strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 1/3 ups sugar

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper on the sides so you can lift the bars out of the pan after cooking.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, powdered sugar and salt.

Cut in butter in small chunks and add vanilla and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest.

Work the butter into the dry mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs. You can use a food processor, but do not over process.

Spread the base in a pan evenly and press it down in the pan. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Mix the strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar and let stand.

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together eggs and add the 1 1/3 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp. flour and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest. When well combined, add the 1 cup lemon juice and mix well.

Remove base from freezer and bake for 25 minutes, until golden.

Remove from oven and spread the sliced strawberries over the surface, reserving any juice.

Add the remaining juice and sugar to the lemon mixture and stir. Pour over the base and strawberries.

Lower the oven to 325 and bake the pan until the center no longer jiggles, 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach

Strawberry & Limoncello Rose Sangria

3/4 cup limoncello

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries

1 (750 ml) bottle semi-dry rose champagne

1 medium lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded

Ice

Limoncello is a liqueur available at ABC stores.

In a large pitcher, combine limoncello and strawberries. Top with chilled rose champagne and stir in half of the lemon slices.

Pour the sangria into ice-filled glasses. Scoop some raspberries and lemon slices into each glass.

You can also make this with something like prosecco or a still rose.

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