Berry Delicious

Photo: iStockphoto.com/THEPALMER
Use these easy recipes to get the most out of strawberry season.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do during the hot summer months was to go strawberry picking. It was a family affair that always turned into a major competition over who could collect the most strawberries in their wicker baskets. We would all go home happy, exhausted and covered from head to toe in strawberry goop. The following morning we would wake up to the lovely scent of cooked strawberries then run downstairs to find several bottles of my mum's freshly made, gorgeous, sweet and sticky strawberry jam cooling on the counter.


To this day, I’m still enraptured with the first strawberries of the season, although my love affair has now extended to all sorts of berries—plump gorgeous raspberries, tiny and tart blueberries and soft and plush blackberries. I love them all, but I still believe my mum's strawberry jam is the best and I have included her recipe below.


I try to keep in mind that we all like to eat light and healthy in the summer, therefore I test my recipes with healthier sugars (demerara or raw cane sugar, agave syrup, organic honey or real organic maple syrup, preferably grade B). All of these sugars are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream, which means that your blood sugar levels will not spike as high as they do with regular refined white sugar.


One of the best recipe that I have created this season is a mixed berry clafouti. This quick and simple dessert is the perfect accompaniment to a light summer supper or a fun outdoor barbeque with friends. It is extremely convenient as it can be made in advance. Plus, it is absolutely glorious with a homemade concoction of creamy mascarpone and agave syrup, honey or organic maple syrup. Check out the recipe below.

Karen's Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

5 1⁄2 cups sugar

1⁄2 cup lemon juice

2 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled and halved


Directions

In a large heavy pot, combine strawberries and sugar. Leave to sit in pot overnight.

Bring strawberry and sugar mixture to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and continue to boil for an additional 3 minutes (continually remove the skim that forms on the top of the jam).

Spoon or pour the hot jam mixture into sterilized jam jars. For instructions on sterilizing jars, visit the Home Canning website from Bernardin.

Mixed Berry Clafouti

Ingredients

5 large organic eggs

1⁄2 cup demerrera sugar (or granulated sugar)

1 cup table cream

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1 small punnet blueberries (punnet is the small basket berries are sold in)

1 small punnet raspberries

1 small punnet blackberries

10 strawberries, hulled and halved

icing sugar or demerara sugar for sprinkling


Directions

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 6-cup capacity baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla. Whisk until frothy. Add flour and whisk until smooth.

Place berries in the bottom of the baking dish and toss to combine. Pour the egg mixture over top of the berries, ensuring that some of the berries still poke through the top.

Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until puffed and golden. Dust with icing sugar.


DeLish Tip

To make this light dessert more decadent, serve alongside a dollop of a mixture of mascarpone cheese and organic honey, maple syrup or agave syrup. For more great recipe ideas, visit my blog!