Tag Archives: Fruit

Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita

 

Strawberry season is all too fleeting.  As soon as we get the email that the strawberries are ripe and ready for picking, we go into hoarding mode.  Similar to squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, we pick and pick until our freezers are full of strawberries in gallon-sized bags.  We pick and process until we have enough berries that we can enjoy them deep into the winter (and until our hands are permanently stained pink). 

A glut of strawberries

 

With the end of the season rapidly approaching and our freezer full of 40 lbs of strawberries, it is time to take a breath and think about making some delicious summer treats with the few remaining pounds that are hanging around the house.  First on deck, a strawberry granita.  If you aren’t familiar with the granita, come and sit by the pool with me so we can discuss. 

Berries macerating

 

Granitas are quite possibly the perfect summer dessert.  Icy, clean, and fresh, they are a grown-up version of what you used to make with your Snoopy Sno-Cone machine.  They are also very easy to make and don’t require any special equipment (i.e., no ice cream maker needed).  Heaped high in a bowl or mixed with some sparkling wine in a champagne glass, granitas are a lovely way to celebrate the summer. 

Straining the mixture

 

Strawberry Granita 

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled 

6 tbls sugar 

1 cup water 

a few drops of lemon juice 

To Make: 

Slice the strawberries and place them in a large bowl.  Add the sugar and stir to combine.  Let the strawberries macerate for about an hour. 

Pour the strawberries, their juices, the water, and the lemon juice into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the seeds. 

Place the mixture in a 9x13x2 inch metal, plastic, or glass dish (you can use larger or smaller dishes, make sure to adjust your total freezing).  Put it in the freezer and let it sit for an hour.  At the end of the hour, use a whisk or a fork to break up any ice crystals that have formed, raking from the sides towards the center of the dish.  This article offers a good overview of how to make granita (and some yummy-sounding recipes too).  Keep doing this every 30 minutes or so until you have a pile of ice crystals (stir more frequently as you get closer to frozen).  If at any point, the mixture gets too hard, let is thaw a bit on the counter and then resume stirring.  It should take bout 3-4 hours, depending on your freezer, pan, sugar content, etc. (if you were to spoon some into a bowl at the slushy phase, I wouldn’t tell). 

To Serve: 

Serve in pretty glasses, bowls, or any other serving vessel.  Garnish with fresh mint, or top with some sparking wine, champagne, or prosecco.  Serves 4-6 as a dessert, many more as a palate cleanser.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten-Free, Ice cream, Recipes

Apple Cider Butter

Apple Cider Butter

So, what do you do when you get an email from one of your favorite U-pick fruit farms saying that they are closing for the season and offering buy-one-get-one 1/2 bushels of apples? If you are anything like us, you hightail it over to the farm before the apples are gone.

Fresh apples

That is just what we did last Friday. We put Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the car and drove up to Northborough to pick 40 pounds of apples. It was a little strange because the day was gray and cool and the orchard was almost empty… it didn’t feel like a typical apple picking outing. The apples, however, were fantastic; large, sweet, crisp, and delicious. I think Thing 1 ate five of them while we were picking.

Apples chopped and boiling down

Now that we have all these apples we have to figure out what to do with them. We usually cut and freeze slices for winter apple pies, make applesauce, and eat lots of them.  This season however, we are starting with apple butter. I have never made apple butter before but I really wanted something that went beyond our classic apple applications. This recipe uses fresh apples and apple cider to make a delicious apple butter that isn’t too heavily spiced. If you decide to make this fall treat, make sure to review the appropriate canning techniques, which can be found here.

Jars ready for processing

I followed the recipe pretty much as listed with some minor adjustments to the spices. The most important change I made was to keep the cores and peels on the apples for the first boil. I then used a food mill to remove the skins, seeds, and cores. The cores have a lot of pectin which helps the butter thicken nicely. However, when I did it this way I had no where near the required 12 cups of apple puree, despite using the 6lbs of apples called for in the recipe. Therefore, I have adjusted the recipe posted below to reflect my yields.

Apple Cider Butter

Adapted from Freshpreserving.com

6 lbs of apples, mixed varieties, quartered

2 cups apple cider

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice

6-7* (8 ounce) glass preserving jars with bands and lids

To Make:

Combine apples and apple cider in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Using the fine disc of a food mill, puree the apples, discarding skins, seeds, and cores. Measure 8 cups of apple puree.

In a clean stainless steel saucepan, combine the apple puree, sugar, and spices and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture reduces, thickens, and holds it shape on a spoon.

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use (do not boil, especially the lids). Ladle hot apple butter into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove bubbles and wipe rim. Center lid on jar and apply band until it is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude). Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. For any jars that do not seal after 24 hours, either reprocess or place in the refrigerator and use.

* The total number of jars will depend on how thick you like your butter

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Filed under Add-ons, Fruit, Recipes