Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry Sweetness!

I was going to pick strawberries this weekend, but it rained and the fields were closed. So I purchased a few boxes from the Farmer's Market. I ventured out early Saturday morning in flip-flops, raincoat and umbrella and felt like a kid in the rain. I paid $2.50 a quart -- not bad.
That afternoon, I assembled the necessities for putting down a batch of Brandied Fruit. It can be an expensive little venture, and it's certainly not something I do often. (The last time was perhaps 12 years ago.) But I like to have something special for my Xmas gift baskets.

My covered antique crock is perfect for holding the fruit. Use only the best of the berries, sugar, and some good brandy. I started with 2 qt of strawberries and 1/6 cup sugar for every cup of fruit. (Don't try to cut back on the sugar). Put this in the crock and cover the fruit with brandy. (I used about 2/3 of the bottle; so Yes, this will be an expensive little venture.) I placed a plate on top of the fruit to weight it down and keep the berries under the Brandy. We don't want the fruit to ferment; we want it to soak up the lovely flavor of the Brandy and infuse it with it's fruitiness!


I carried the crock downstairs to the cool, dark cellar and put it in my preserves cupboard. As fruit comes in season, I'll add to the crock -- raspberries, cherries, peaches, pears -- remembering to add 1/6 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit AND make sure that it's always covered by Brandy. Then in the early fall, I'll process it in sterilized pint jars, label it all pretty, and store it until Christmas.
The fruit will have a marvelous flavor, just the slightest bit of sweet bite to it and the juices will be syrupy. This is fantastic over good vanilla ice cream or a plain sponge with real whipped cream.


Now, we all know that every strawberry in the box wasn't perfect. So, the remaining perfectly lovely berries were sliced, added to the rhubarb that was leftover from making Rhubarb syrup, a little sugar, a little grated lemon rind and Voila!

3 lovely pies for the freezer.

(I'll bake more pies this week when I do go to pick strawberries.)
Don't you love the tastes of summer!


Red said...

You're a very busy person! Do you have trouble with theft when you make such delicious stuff??
Sounds like really great stuff. I've never heard of it before.

Red said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sweet Tea said...

I began a diet today and after seeing your pies
Oh, those look good!

Marguerite said...

Finally! a use for those antique crocks I see all the time. Sounds yummy.

Suzie Ridler said...

I had no idea you could preserve fruit so simply like that! Wow, the flavour must be out of this world and those pies are the cutest ever! Must be strawberry day, LOL. Beautiful job!

Zilly said...

Make me crazy-it looks great-wishing you lots of fun with you're strawberry's-xxx-Sil

Garden of Egan said...

What time are you puttin' in those pies?
I'll be over with some ice cream!

They are beautiful.

Rosemary said...

Sandy, Love this idea. Would like to try it myself... Anyone receiving this as a gift has to be so appreciative.. Enjoyed reading your blog. Will be back.

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Sandy, thanks for the visit to my blog and for following it! It's great to meet another fellow Maritimer. I'm guessing you're from N.S.?? and wondering what part. I'm going to follow you too. It's very hot and humid here today, well has been for a week now. Have a great week! Pamela