Ideas | 5 ways to enjoy strawberries even when they are gone!

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If you have read my last post about berry jams, you already know my love for berries…but guess which one I like the most….. yes, strawberries!

I like strawberries to the extent that I can eat them in any form at any time of the day in any season.. ❀

So obviously, I want to enjoy strawberries some way or the other even when they are gone… I can’t wait for another season.. I can’t!

I have come up with 5 ways to do just that –

Sun dried strawberries –

This one is the simplest one.. cut strawberries in quarters and let them dry in the Sun. Make sure you spread the pieces in one layer and use metal tray or ceramic tray/plate to dry your strawberries. Avoid using any plastic..

Strawberry dust –

Ever since I read about freezer dried strawberries and make strawberry dust out of it, I wanted to make my own batch! The only difference, I dried my strawberries in the Sun rather than in the freezer. So, just cut the strawberries in smaller pieces, let then dry completely for 2-3 days in the Sun and make them into powder using a mixer-grinder! The dust is not very pleasing to taste but you can tint your frostings or even make strawberry sugar by adding this dust to powdered sugar which can then be sprinkled on your favorite cookies or made into strawberry glaze! The possibilities are endless. 😊

IMG_2229Strawberry jam-

My last post!

Strawberry purΓ¨ –

even more simple… blitz the strawberries in a blender, add powdered sugar if you want; I did not add any. Store in the freezer in a freezer-safe container securing tightly with the lid. Whenever you want to use this, remove from freezer and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours and use in the recipe as needed. Return the remaining quantity to the freezer immediately.

Strawberry chips –

Umm, you can’t really eat them just like that but they would surely make for a nice topper on cupcake, chocolate moose or even panna cotta! Look at these beauties –

These are simple ways to lengthen the strawberry season a bit more… enjoy strawberries for a longer time with minimal efforts.

Do share your thoughts, comments, suggestions! I love to hear back from you. πŸ™‚

Happy cooking ~

Prajakta

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Cooking| Homemade Jams – three ways

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Look at those colors…

Call me a berry maniac…no, please call me one… you will surely call me that after learning the copious amount of berries I have purchased, eaten and preserved and still doing!

During my trip to Mahabaleshwar, a famous hill station near Pune,Β around mid January; I had 2 kgs of strawberries, 250 gms of black raspberries and 500 gms of cape gooseberries… have you heard about the cape gooseberries before? They are awesome.. although not everybody will like the taste. Look how gorgeous they look! Cape gooseberries are not exactly sweet..neither they are tart like strawberries. They taste somewhere between a sweeter yet subtle version of a cherry tomato to pineapple, mango and what not…it is difficult to describe the exact taste.. but they are best!

Again, on my recent trip to Khanderao market here in Vadodara I got 2 kgs of strawberries and 1 kg of mulberries.. mulberry is another awesome stuff.. as a child I used to hog on to those from my neighbour’s tree and now I have to buy them 😦

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Mulberries… painting childhood memories..

Well…now what would you call me? A berry maniac for sure?!

With so many berries sitting prettily around, I wanted to put them to good use. We like jams and what’s better than a homemade jam? So I made three types of jams – a strawberry jam with star anise, a mixed berry jam (strawberry, black raspberries and mulberries) with pure vanilla extract and cape gooseberries jam with rosemary and black pepper. I made two batches of strawberry jam, one in January and second one just a week before. I made cape gooseberries jam also in January but because I knew I wanted to make a post on all my jam endeavors I waited till today when all my jam jars are set and sitting around for a while.

You can use these jams not just on breads for breakfast, but you could add them to your smoothie bowls or top your oatmeal with a spoonful or even make a bruschetta by pairing it with a good cheese (or any other way you want)!

My jam recipes are quite simple, especially with the berries. I usually take 75% less sugar than that of the fruit, however the quantity of sugar depends on how sour or sweet the berries are. I let the fruit and sugar along with a dash of lemon juice sit for a while so that all the juices from fruit are released and then cook till the desired consistency is reached.

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Here is the step-wise procedure~

  1. If using strawberries, cut the strawberries in small pieces. In a big pot made of non-reacting material*, put the fruit and add sugar. Add lemon juice (juice of half a lemon or one depending on the quantity of fruit) and stir gently. Let this mixture sit for about an hour. Add spices of your choice (or simply vanilla extract), if using.
  2. Put a tea saucer in the freezer. We will use this later to check if the jam is done.
  3. Now, start cooking the mixture on medium heat stirring occasionally using a wooden spoon till all the sugar is dissolved and you see bubbles rising on the sides. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking. You will see white foam arising on top, keep removing the foam with a small spoon; these are impurities in the sugar and removing them will give you a clear looking jam also increasing its shelf life.
  4. Keep cooking till you see that the jam is starting to thicken and coats the back of the wooden spoon in a nice layer. Keep the mixture on lowest heat.
  5. Remove the saucer from freezer (from step 2) and put a small drop of jam on it. Return the saucer to the freezer for a minute or so. During this time, it is good if you remove the mixture from heat to avoid over cooking the jam.
  6. Your jam is done if the drop on the saucer wrinkles when pushed with a finger.

Few tips to increase life of your homemade jams –

  1. Always use clean and dry spoon to take out the jam.
  2. Take out the only quantity needed, if you remove more quantity do not put back in the same jar.
  3. Jam made this way stays at room temperature for about 2 months, however I would recommend to keep them in fridge for longer life.
  4. Sterilize the jars for storing jams. If you are not sterilizing the jars, make sure that you transfer the jam only when its completely cooled down.
  5. Use jars with good quality leads which fit nicely and are airtight as can be.

I am sharing the measurements I used to give you an idea of the quantities of jam –

Chunky strawberry jam with star anise:

500 gms strawberries – cleaned and cut into small chunks

375 gms regular sugar

juice of one (1) lemon

2 pinches of Himalayan pink salt (or black salt or regular salt)

2 pieces star anise

Total yield: 526 gms of chunky strawberry jam

Mixed berries jam:

320 gms of mixed berries – 110 gms strawberry + 110 black raspberries + 100 gms mulberries

200 gms regular sugar

juice of half lemon

2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 small vanilla pod)

Total yield: 337 gms of mixed berries jam

Note: I chopped the strawberries in small pieces. However, I kept raspberries and mulberries whole. At the time of cooking, I kept mashing the fruit with the help of wooden spoon. This way, the jam is not too chunky like strawberry jam but not like the store brought ones. You can feel a texture of the fruits when you eat.

Cape gooseberries jam:

250 gms cape gooseberries cut into very small pieces

175 gms regular sugar

4 to 5 crushed black pepper

2 tsp dried rosemary

Total yield: 220 gms of jam

*Use any pot made with non-reactive material. Non-reactive material could include anodized pots, or very good quality non-stick pots. Never use copper, brass or such metals to cook fruits.

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Feel free to comment, ask questions or share your suggestions. πŸ™‚

Happy cooking~

Prajakta

 

 

Back to Blogging – Strawberry-pom-pistachio smoothie

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Vadodara – the new city we will now call our home! We were back on Sunday from our short trip to our hometown Pune. As I mentioned in my last post, we were due moving our household to Vadodara, and we just moved! Few days before heading to Pune, I made this strawberry-pomegranate-pistachio smoothie for breakfast. So the first thing I wanted to do (apart from unpacking) was to post this smoothie recipe.

Its light and refreshing on your taste buds and yet stomach-feeling. Plus, its a quick one to pull together. The only time consuming part – if you don’t know the quick-tricks is removing pomegranate kernels. Done that, this smoothie comes together in a jiffy. I spent hardly 10 minutes in making this, another 5 minutes in gulping it down and 45 minutes in photographing the beauty! πŸ˜‰

I have named her ‘Pink Beauty’! πŸ™‚

What are you waiting for? Go make this fast…

Here is what you will need ~

  1. 6-8 Strawberries – cleaned, stems removed, and cut into chunks
  2. Kernels of half pomegranate – making sure piths are removed
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 1 tbsp cream from top of the milk*
  5. 5-6 unsalted pistachios – slightly roasted
  6. 1 tsp flax seeds
  7. 1 tsp honey (this smoothie is only mildly sweet, add more honey if you prefer it to be more sweet)
  8. 3-4 mint leaves, torn with hands
  9. Juice of half a lemon

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Instructions ~

  1. Puree strawberries in a blender, this is to make sure there are no larger pieces of strawberries in your smoothie. Now add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and blend until smooth. Lastly, add lemon juice and pulse for few seconds.
  2. Pour in your favorite glass and enjoy!

This recipe makes 2 individual servings or one huge serving.

As always, let me know if you make my recipes and like them. You can share your feedback here on the blog or Kesariyaa’s social media platforms.

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* In India, it is a daily practice to boil the milk, cool it down and then gather the cream on top of the boiled milk. This cream usually makes its way to homemade ghee (clarified butter). You can use low fat cream here as well.

Happy cooking,

Prajakta