Monday, May 05, 2008

Before it is jam

It was just strawberry season, backbreaking pickers in the patches
Everything's burning down to ashes and down to the ground
- Indigo Girls

We keep eating all the strawberries before they become jam.

I aim, gentle readers, to introduce you vicariously to the glories of strawberries from Yang's Produce, a roadside stand conveniently located between my home and my workplace.

Some people around here call them Hmongberries, but one of the Hmong-speaking missionaries told us yesterday over our dining-room-table burrito bar that there actually is no word in Hmong for strawberry. I also have some questions about whether it is cool to call them Hmongberries. Although they definitely are special and they definitely are predominantly raised by Hmong farmers in this region.

You walk up to Yang's and the scent of the berries almost overwhelms you, especially if the weather's warm. They're displayed on an astroturf-covered counter attended by smiling teenagers. Down the line there are rutabagas, snap peas, yellow and green baby pattypan squash, Thai basil, purple spring onions. Boysenberries will arrive next month sometime. Then peaches later in the summer.

But the strawberries are the stars. You buy half a flat for $8.50. They are perfect, glossy and red with fresh green tops - picked today from the field just behind the stand.

If you can keep from eating one, unwashed, in the car, I admire you. If you can manage to save enough for this recipe you are very lucky. If you can save enough for jam, I would like to know your secret and may possibly pay for the privilege.

Strawberry Pie


1/2 c. cold butter
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until lumps are the size of small peas. Add water and stir gently. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough can be gathered into a ball.

Roll flat and place in pie tin. Shape edge and prick all over with a fork. Bake at 410 for 8-10 minutes.


3 pts. strawberries, cut to make 4 c sliced berries and 1 c. berries for the blender (The blender is where you use your ugly berries if you don't buy them at Yang's)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch

Place sliced berries in baked pie crust.

Blend together 1 c. berries and water until smooth.

Whisk together sugar and corn starch in a medium saucepan. Add berry puree. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until it thickens and boils. Boil and stir one minute.

Pour over berries in crust. Chill 2 hours before serving. With whipped cream, if you know what's good.

The missionaries thought this dessert rocked!

I am going to have to buy some more berries for jam, though.


SalGal said...

I think I may have shorted out my keyboard with all this drool...

D said...

Ana, I was at the flea market and they are selling the half flats for $7.00, brimming from the top, red, juicy and sweet. My kids love strawberries and eat them unwash when we buy them there.

SalGal said...

P.s. "God made dirt, dirt don't hurt!" That's all there is on those berries, right? That, and maybe some gray water.