Berries mean spring is near
We can’t complain about our winter weather so far. It’s been a mild one. But I know we will get some snow even if we don’t want it. I can only hope for an early spring. That would be nice.
I am going to put some berry recipes in this column. I found some good ones for strawberries that I know you will like. When it does warm up, we’ll be picking all sorts of berries. When I was still working, two male customers both said they love elderberry pie. I offered to make each of them one, if they brought me the berries to make two. One afternoon, here comes one of the men in my driveway.
When he came to the door he had a large white bucket full of elderberries. I told him that I would call him when I got the pies made. I decided to clean the berries and take them off the stems. I thought I would never get those tiny stems off the berries. I had to put some on a flat dinner plate, so I could see to get all the stems off. They were quite tiny. When I made the pies, I was hoping I got all the stems. Both of the men said the pies were good and they didn’t find any stems. This was the first time I ever made an elderberry pie. I love the jam. My mom made it all the time.
We would go out to Irish’s Sheep Farm on Griggs Road to hunt and pick berries. They had elderberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes. I don’t think my mom ever bought a jar of jam or jelly from the store. She even baked her own bread. There’s nothing better than a freshly made loaf of hot bread. I would cut off one of the ends and put real butter and homemade jam on it. Sure makes my mouth water now just thinking about it.
I’ll even put some homemade jelly and jams in my future columns. They are so easy to make. I even found a pepper jelly recipe. My son, Philip, hasn’t been down to Kentucky in a couple of years. When he went down there, they would send him home with boxes of different jellies and jams they would make. I sure do miss them.
If you ever want to hunt for wild strawberries, your best place is to hunt by the railroad tracks. When I was a young child, we would go from the Magyar Street railroad to the foundry area to look for them. The fields around there would be full of strawberries. I think they tasted sweeter than the homegrown ones. I don’t know if you would find any now since they spray weed killer around that area now.
I have lots of raspberry and blueberry recipes I’ll put in my next column. In my future columns, I’ll be putting different meat recipes for you to share, since most men like meat and potatoes only. My dad certainly was that way. We had meat and potatoes at every supper at our house. We ate at the same time. Lots of families nowadays don’t have nightly family dinners. Either one of the kids are at some kind of sports practice, and so forth. Parents are working different shifts. Most mothers or wives didn’t work back in those days when I was a kid. Those were the “good ol’ days.”
Until next time, please enjoy these recipes.
Strawberry Graham Dessert
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsps. butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg. (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen, sweetened, sliced strawberries, thawed
1 tbs.. lemon juice
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Fresh strawberries and mint, optional
In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter; set aside 1 tbs.. for topping. Press the remaining crumbs mixture onto the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in strawberries and lemon juice. Refrigerate until partially set, about 1-1/2 hours. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Spread half over cooled crust. Cover and refrigerate remaining cream mixture. Pour gelatin mixture over filling; refrigerate until firm. Top with remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with strawberries and mint, if desire. Yield: 9 servings.
Peanut Butter Berry Delights
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (reduced-fat or generic brands are not recommended)
5 tbsps. milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
2 tbsps. whipped topping
20-25 large fresh strawberries
5 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate, melted
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, melted chocolate, and whipped topping. Beginning at the right of the stem, cut each strawberry in half, diagonally. Scoop out the white portion from the larger half of each berry. Spread or pipe peanut butter mixture between the two halves; press gently. Place on waxed paper, refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set. Dip bottom half of berry in chocolate. Place on pan. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes or until set. Yield: 20-25 servings.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, crushed
1-1/2 cups finely diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 pkg. (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
In a large kettle, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and pineapple. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Pour into jars or freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool. Top with lids. Refrigerate or freeze. Yield: 5-1/2 cups.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 bunches fresh spinach, washed and dried
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps. sesame seeds
1 tbs.. poppy seeds
1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Arrange spinach and strawberries on individual salad plates or in a large salad bowl. Place the next six ingredients in a blender or food processor. With unit running, add oil and vinegar in a steady stream. Blend until thickened. Drizzle over salad; serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.