Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Strawberries!

I love summertime. It's my favourite, for many reasons. One of which not the least of which is STRAWBERRIES!!!!!!!!!!

 I love love love strawberries. Love them. Could eat them everyday (and I have been.)
And I don't mean the shipped-from-California or Florida ones that have sat on truck for 5 days after being picked and processed etc etc.  I mean the grown 10 minutes from my house kind that you get in the local market for those three magical weeks late June to early July.
The smell of fresh strawberries...that 'pop' when you first close your lips around one...there just isn't anything like it.

When we were kids, we had a giant garden. Mom grew everything.....from parsnips to squash to potatoes to rhubarb, you name it, she could grow it. Dad would be out there labouring away and when I was a teenager I *hated* to work in the dirt. Hated it. Now, I can't wait to get diggin' and growin.

One of my favourite things my Mom used to make was something she called "Rhubarb Stew". It was always cooked on the stovetop and served warm with a lot of sugar on top.

I was surprised years ago the first time I made it, how simple and easy Rhubarb Stew was to make. You cut up a bunch of rhubarb into inch size cubes, dump it in a giant pot, add a cup of sugar and let it cook down, down , down until it's a gooey yummy sludgey rhubarby stew. Simple, easy, delicious.

I'm big fan of the Slow Food Movement   and in the summer, try to grow as much as I can, and freeze and can (when possible). There's a FABULOUS market in my home town Briwood Farm Market that I visit when I'm home to visit. Almost everything is as local as can be, and so fresh and so good...can't say enough wonderful things about it. Even if I still call it "Giffords" from time to time. I'm old. I forget.

So..... having bought 4 pints of strawberries, they needed to be used. I ate a bunch, froze a bunch, and used a bunch in my lovely New Rhubarb Stew!

Rhubarb Stew

Clean and prepare 1 solid bunch of rhubarb stalks. Cut ends off, cut into 1 inch cubes. 
Clean and hull strawberries, cut into quarters.
In a large stockpot (I used my canning pot as you can see here, because I did a double batch. Usually I use my 6 qt pot).
Add 1 half cup of white sugar, and 1 half cup of orange juice.
Place on burner at medium-high heat, bring to boil.

Keep an eye on the pot, stir with a long handled wooden spoon occasionally.
It will cook down, slowly, about 2o mins .....

And after about 30 mins it should be boiling and look something like this:
Reduce heat to med-low and simmer another 15 mins or so
This is the finished stew, I usually like to stir it up some and mush up any pieces of fruit that are still kinda solidy. Let it cool for a bit, this will be WAY to hot to be patient!! (I speak from experience here.....avoid the scalded tongue!)

Enjoy over really good vanilla ice cream.....this is also yummy cold, too.

 I hope everyone is enjoying their summer safely and happily, and eating as much local produce as they can fit in their bellies!

By the way, Thanks to Mr J for the wonderful present that has enabled these amazing pics!!!