Strawberries!

We have a small strawberry patch that has just been bearing so much fruit; and it is awesome! Last year I bought two plants, which quickly spread, but before we were able to pick anything something else got to them first. So, this year I put up some chicken wire and it has done wonders, except for the few eaten by bugs and possible chipmunks I have been really surprised how many strawberries these little plants are yielding.

Strawberries are super easy to grow, you just need to make sure you keep critters away. My son has really enjoyed helping pick/gather the berries. Because of the fence I pick the berries and hand them off to my son who then either piles them up or puts them in a container (and he sneaks one or two every now and then also, I can’t blame him sun warmed berries freshly picked are the best).

The first batch of strawberries we just ate, the next batch I wanted to do something with, we ended up with over a pound of berries so I wanted to make sure we would use them before they went bad. And they just keep coming.  So, with help from my son we cut the berries in half (he used a dull butter knife) and we put them in a pot to make jam.  I have never made jam, but have always wanted to so we gave it a shot.

Strawberry Jam(for one 16 oz jar) 1 pound strawberries & 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar

Cut strawberries in half or quarters if they are large, and put in a non reactive pot.  Add about a 1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar and cook on medium heat until just starts to simmer.
Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries. I like some larger chunks, but if you wanted to make it smoother mash longer and strain through a sieve.
Continue to cook down the strawberries, stirring occasionally.  The berries will thicken up, and once it coats the spoon and leaves a trail when you stir it should be ready.  At this point you can either put in a container and put directly in the refrigerator or can the jam. 
Yum…

Strawberry Cake
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound strawberries, halved
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees, butter a 10 inch pie pan. Sift flour, baking powder, flax and salt together; set a side. Beat butter and 1 cup sugar with electric mixer until pale and fluffy. mix in egg, milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extract. Reduce to low, and slowly add flour mixture. Transfer batter to pie pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down on top of batter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake cake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm, about 1 hour. Let cool.
Cut into wedges, and for an extra sweet treat serve with the jam from above.
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