Anyone else have one of these growing up?
I loooooved my Strawberry Shortcake doll. When you squeezed her belly, she even blew you strawberry-scented kisses. I went through a pretty major Strawberry Shortcake phase. I remember having curtains, a bedspread and one of those fuzzy blankets with the thick, silk borders (Remember those? I’m sure they were so flammable that they don’t sell them anymore). I even had a Strawberry Shortcake record, with lots of Strawberry Shortcake songs. My mom recently sent it down to me, but lo and behold, it was too scratched to play. Big-time bummer. I was looking forward to torturing E., er, sharing my love for it with her.
This was just my long-winded way of saying that I was a mah-jor Strawberry Shortcake fan. Both the doll and most especially, the delicious dessert.
After our trip to Pappy’s Strawberry Patch, we had 6 pounds of berries and I wasn’t sure what to do with them all. The first thing I knew I had to make, though, was shortcake.
I turned to my cooking mentor Betty Google and found this gem of a site: www.strawberry-recipes.com. Winner!
I quickly found a simple shortcake recipe, and double win, I already had all the ingredients at home. And without too much effort, this is what I made:
But that only took care of about a quart of strawberries. What to do with the rest? I decided to tackle a long-standing fear: canning. Again, consulting the Strawberry Recipes site, I found a few simple recipes for making jelly. Honestly, it couldn’t be simpler, technique wise. And other than a lot more sugar and some pectin, we had all the supplies. I figured, what did I have to lose.
First things first, I started sterilizing some jelly jars. Before she died, DadJovi’s grandmother was one of West Virginia’s most well-known and beloved jelly makers. For reals. So we have case upon case of delicious mountain berry jellies and jams (red raspberry, black raspberry, elderberry, etc. They’re addicting as hell and we haven’t bought a jar of store-bought jelly in YEARS). Needless to say, we have a lot of jelly jars laying around. Into the pot they went.
According to the recipe, all I had to do was hull a lot of berries …
Here’s the next step:
Boil mixture then simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Stir frequently. When finished take off the foamy top layer of the mixture.
Again, not very complicated. The recipe forgot to account for one major thing though: distractions. It hadn’t come to a boil yet, so I was helping E. with something when all of the sudden I heard a lot sizzle and smelled a really acrid, burning smell. Yup, that’d be the smell of overflowing jelly-in-the-making.
I’m not proud of the number of curses that flew out of my mouth (I owe the swear jar a lot). DadJovi and I both scrambled to clean it up as E. kept asking, “Mommy, what happened? Mommy, why’s it spilling? Mommy, what’s that smell?”
Finally, we got what was left of the jelly mixture back on the stove. Clearly I didn’t have time to snap pics of the lava spill, but you can still see it all caked on the pot and stovetop:
I’d say I lost about a quarter of the sauce. Crap. Plus, it threw off the timing so I had no idea how long to boil it for. After a few taste tests, I just went ahead and followed the next steps: Pour the hot strawberry jam in hot sterilized jars. Make sure to fill it up to the top. Clean the jars with a damp towel. Close tightly. After 10 minutes turn around and place jars on the lid. Let cool down, turn around again and store.
At least I didn’t screw that part up. And, here’s what I created:
And the best part? It’s actually really good! Definitely a bit too sweet. The recipe said to follow a 1:1 rule. So, 4 cups berries=4 cups sugar. I actually cut that down by a cup and it was still too sweet. Not necessarily a bad problem to have though.
DadJovi says he loves it, and I do keep catching him eating it out of the jar with a spoon, so I don’t think he’s lying. And I learned a valuable lesson: an unwatched pot does indeed boil very quickly.