I was back in my old neighborhood this weekend, and I went to the farm stand which opens in March with spring strawberries and runs all year until a December 24th closing (they sell pumpkins in October, Christmas trees in December as well as other produce–the fresh corn is to die for in the summer and early fall). It was their first day open Saturday and the strawberries looked wonderful. They grow a type of strawberry that is large, dark and very firm, but when I tasted a sample, they weren’t very sweet. I still intended to buy some, but didn’t have enough cash and their debit card machine had not yet been hooked up. So I went to the Pierce College Farm market and found them open (also their first day) and selling not only spring strawberries, but a lot of other organic produce and baked goods. Pierce College sits on a large (and pricey) piece of land in Woodland Hills, California, and has an agriculture and animal husbandry department. They also train vet techs there. It’s the only school in the Los Angeles area that carries these programs, and they grow various crops in the process. They also do the pumpkin patch, haunted house and Santa’s Village things at the holidays. I tasted some of their spring strawberries (a different variety than the first place) and they were huge, very dark in color and wonderfully sweet. No sugar for these babies. I am going to freeze some for use later but will probably eat most of them plain this week. That said, here is a recipe for strawberry pie that I posted last year. Get ready for those strawberries! They are coming soon to your area, too! And as a P.S….you never know where or when you can encounter wonderful strawberries. The best fresh strawberries I EVER tasted were on New Year’s Eve in Buffalo, NY a few years ago….go figure!
I had a lot of strawberries a couple of weeks ago that were starting to soften. Since I don’t like to freeze berries unless they are firm and fresh, I decided to make a strawberry pie. My mother always cooked her strawberry pie filling, and while it was great, it always ended up tasting more like strawberry jam than pie. This recipe does both…cooked and fresh, and it’s really simple. I cut the sugar in the cooked strawberries to half a cup and it was fine since the berries were ripe and sweet.
1 9 inch pie crust, baked
1 quart strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
whipping cream if desired.
Arrange half the strawberries in the baked pastry shell. Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about ten minutes, stirring constantly so it does not burn. Remove from heat, let cool five minutes, then pour over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours before serving. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.
NOTE: I also added one tablespoon of lemon juice to the cooked strawberries.