Strawberry city!

Strawberry jam, strawberry bread

Know what happens when you get nearly 7 pounds of strawberries? You have to come up with ways to use them–quickly. That day I sliced about a pound or so and sugared them, baked a shortcake, picked up some whipped cream, and we had strawberry shortcake for dessert after dinner with the neighbors.

As an aside, I want to tell you how wonderful it is to have nice neighbors with whom you can have dinner and dessert, rather than drug dealing who-knows-whats whom we recently enjoyed.

But that meant we still had about 5.5 pounds. I left them on the counter overnight, and lost probably a quarter-pound as some which were superripe molded. Then I knew I had to move. I had to make jam. Or try.

I’d hoped to make jam without extra sugar–you can buy certain kinds of pectin for that. But Stop and Shop, the only store in my area that carried pectin at all, didn’t have any, so I opted for the regular stuff. We made a half-batch, carefully following the recipe inside the Sure-Jell package, which used up a loosely-packed 5 cups of unprocessed berries, or about 2.5 cups of puree, made by mashing washed and hulled berries with a potato masher, a job Mr. Pea enjoyed thoroughly. The jam seems to have set ok–it’s still not as thick as store jam, but I’m ok with that. We ended up with three half-pints, three quarter-pints, and just some we put in the fridge.

Still, we had lots of berries left. Some we made up to make sure we ate the end of the shortcake, but today I turned about a pint–a cup, sliced–into Strawberry Bread. My recipe is a slightly modified one from a cooking blog–one that’s new to me–called eat!craft!live! Clearly these are my people.

The recipe there sounded fairly healthy, even, than others I’d seen–swapping some oil for applesauce, some white flour for wheat. My only change was to swap out some of the applesauce, which I didn’t have, for yogurt. I learned today that in place of oil, you can use 1/2 of the required amount plus 3/4 of the rest. So, if you had to swap out a half-cup of oil, you could use a quarter cup plus 3 T of plain yogurt. Or something like that. Since I made some yogurt last week that was still in the fridge, I put it to use.

Here is the recipe from eat!craft!live!, with my adjustment.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced (about a cup)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T plus 2 t (approximately) plain yogurt

Mix dry ingredients, except sugar; blend wet ingredients, including sugar. Add wet to dry and scrape into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

We were a little skeptical at first, having never had strawberry bread, but the aroma wafting from the oven was pretty fantastic, and the bread itself is quite divine. I had a tiny bit of the bottom stick, which was too bad, but meant that I had an excuse to eat those bits of berry and bread before I could wash the pan. I bet it’ll be even better tomorrow, with a cup of coffee.

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