June brings the promise of ‘sweet strawberries’…there is nothing like the first taste of a freshly picked ‘sun-kissed strawberry!’
Fortunately, strawberries are not on any of our allergy lists…if strawberries are on yours, ‘I hear you’…there will be no raspberry picking in our family!
I was so ‘pumped’ to go strawberry picking this year…having missed out last year…my freezer strawberry jam was beginning to run low! ‘Oh no!’
So off I set, complete with straw hat, on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, to Watson’s Farms in Bowmanville.
Baskets in hand, I headed out on the tractor…just me, the driver and one other picker…to the fields that were literally ‘bursting’ with plump, juicy strawberries.
The sweet smell of strawberries infused the air…there was a feeling of ‘peacefulness and tranquility’ out in the fields away from all the hustle and bustle of the city…the mood, in the fields, felt like we had all ‘hit the jackpot!’
I claimed my row, crouched down low and unveiled the ‘ruby red jewels of mother nature!’
I have never seen such an abundance of strawberries!
‘Visions of’… jars of freezer strawberry jam, strawberry bread, strawberry pie, strawberry bundt cake, frozen strawberries for smoothies…danced in my head!
First up…Freezer Strawberry Jam! I just followed the directions on the package of Liquid Certo.
Perfect everytime…brings back childhood memories of when I used to make jam with my mom.
I made enough Freezer Strawberry Jam for Matthew to give a jar to every teacher he has had from SK to Grade 8!
He presented them to each of his teachers on Friday. A few tears were shed…by me…I can’t believe both my boys will be in highschool now…where has the time gone?
An extra special something was baked for Matthew’s Grade 8 teacher…Mr G!
I have been eyeing a Canadian Living’s Country Cookbook recipe for Strawberry Tea Bread for years now. Oats, cinnamon, strawberries, and the ability to sneak in some whole wheat flour un-noticed…perfect!
Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Bread!
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of whole oats (not instant)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, water and vanilla. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, oats, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Add the dry to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Mixture will be quite thick. Scrap off your spatula before adding the crushed strawberries.
Add the crushed strawberries to the mixture and stir to combine.
There is enough batter to make 4 mini loaves, or 1 large loaf and 1 mini loaf.
Choose your loaf pans, oil and flour them and place on a baking or cookie sheet.
Pour batter in chosen loaf pans.
Bake at 375 F: large loaf 45 minutes, mini loaves 35 minutes.
Tip: When baking the one large loaf and 1 mini loaf, I put the timer on for 35 minutes, removed the mini loaf and left the larger loaf in for another 10 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from pans. Continue to cool on cooling racks.
Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Bread was a hit with myself, Matthew, his best friend and my neighbours. Michael, on the other hand, was put off by the oatmeal…pleasing the two of them is a challenge in and of itself!
No problem…I had enough strawberries for another ‘strawberry creation’ I was eager to try… Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Bundt Cake!
Bingo! All the kids loved this one! Just substitute 1 1/4 cups of crushed strawberries for the banana in my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake.
Saturday was an extra special day…not only had I invited a couple of the neighbourhood ‘guinea pigs’ over to sample all of our ‘strawberry treats’…
but we also had something ‘special to celebrate!’
Happy Sweet 16th Victoria!
Tip: Loaves like these are perfect for freezing to save and enjoy the ‘fruits of summer’ throughout the year! I have frozen a large loaf to share with my Scottish cousin and his family when they visit this August. A couple of mini loaves have been frozen to take as gifts with a jar of Freezer Strawberry Jam for when we travel and stay with friends.
P.S. I love to make Strawberry Freezer Jam for a couple of reasons: firstly, the simplicity of it all…no processing in a hot water bath canner. Secondly, for travelling purposes, the frozen jam works as a freezer pack in the cooler and makes a handy ‘hostess gift’ upon arrival at our destination!
P.P.S. I made sure I had enough Strawberry Jam and Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Mini Breads to share with my neighbours/friends. Over the years, so many of them have been so supportive of myself and my family…watching over my boys, sharing words of wisdom, recipes, and flowers from their gardens. Between the neighbours on either side of us, Andy never needs to worry about cutting the front lawn…one of them even weeds for me!
A big ‘thank you’ to you all!