Strawberry Pie

So it’s time to bring out the red, white, and blue! I’ve decided that I would actually use those beautiful red strawberries from the garden for more than just snacking. Strawberry pie it is! I still cannot believe how many strawberries are growing.

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When I make strawberry pie, I always use regular piecrust, but I thought it would be better with sugar cookies. From the research I did, I don’t think I am able to do that. So, I found an alternative!  Shortbread cookie piecrust! It doesn’t get much better than that! Who knew? All you do is press it into the pie pan. I must admit, the ‘no rolling’ was nice. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Shortbread-Pie-Crust/Detail.aspx

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There are many variations to strawberry pie, but they are all really the same… water, cornstarch, sugar, Jello, and strawberries! The sugar really doesn’t matter if your measurements are accurate. I’ve seen recipes from ¾ of a cup all the way to 3 cups (3 cups would be a little much and you wouldn’t even taste the strawberries).

Strawberry Pie Recipe for 2 pies in shallow 8” and 9” pan:

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar (you can subtract a little sugar if you’d like, I don’t think it would make too much of a difference)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (3 oz) box of Strawberry Jello (this is needed- if you just use cornstarch it will be runny, I’ve tried that already)
  • 4 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 shallow pie pans- I used 8” and 9” pans with shortbread crust recipe from above
  • whipped cream for topping (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Boil water, sugar, corn starch- bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes until it starts to become thick.  
  2. Remove from the heat and add Jello and stir.
  3. Cool for 30 minutes in fridge (this helps the crust from getting too soggy and helps keep strawberries from turning to mush- it is nice and thick and not overly hot)
  4. Fill cooled pie crusts with strawberries.
  5. Pull pie filling from fridge and pour over fresh sliced strawberries.

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If  I have more strawberries to harvest later this week, I just may try individual strawberry pies. I have leftover dough in the freezer. But for now I’m just going to enjoy the pie.

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Growing Strawberries

I’ve never been good a growing strawberries. I always had strawberry plants, but I could only get a few strawberries to grow, until I discovered a few tricks. I am proud to say that the strawberries are already turning red. I picked these after school. 🙂

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After speaking to a few of my colleagues last week, I discovered I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know much about strawberries, which prompted this blog post.

There are 3 different kinds of strawberries. I discovered this from going to my local greenhouse. I always wondered why the strawberries I had didn’t give me a lot of strawberries. I finally figured out that I had only one type (everbearing).

The three main varieties are:

  1. June Bearing- Usually produces a crop in late spring (I have quite a few of these for jam). Soon, a bunch will all come in at once. Once I pick them, they won’t really do much for the rest of the summer.
  2. Everbearing- I have 3 of these plants. I can pick a few about 2-3 times a year, but it doesn’t yield much. It seems like just enough for snacking while I’m working in the garden.
  3. Day Neutral- These are like the everbearing and the fruit is usually small. I don’t have this type.

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A Few Tips and Tricks:

  1. Full Sun: I originally planted mine in part shade and they didn’t grow well. As soon as I transferred them, they seemed to finally produce strawberries. Choose a sunny spot!
  2. New Strawberry Plants: Strawberries typically do not produce their best fruit if they’ve been producing fruit for more than 3 years. My strawberry garden is now divided into 3 sections. I plan on buying new crops and rotating them. If I buy one section a year and replace them, it will be easier on the budget.
  3. Well-Drained Soil: Strawberries will typically grow in any soil condition, but when I moved my strawberry bed to an area that was sandy/rocky, they grew just fine. I thought I was giving my strawberries a death sentence, but it was the only place I had with full sun by the house.
  4. A Raised Bed: I think this helps with drainage. Strawberries do not like sitting in water.
  5. Water! Water! Water! Although strawberries don’t like sitting in water, they need watered regularly.
  6.  Weed: Seems simple, but this is where most people lose the highest possible yield.

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I am sure I will learn more at some point, but for now I’m happy to say I have strawberries to enjoy. I could quite possibly have incorrect information. Remember, I’m still learning. 🙂  There is nothing like a homegrown strawberry! Even the dog loved eating one!

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Time to Dig in the Dirt!

It’s that time of year again! Last year, I tried to grow my own plants and that didn’t work out so well. So, this year it was straight to the greenhouse.  $30.00 is a small price to pay for a full garden! Plus, they were offering FREE chicken BBQ in honor of Mother’s Day. All you had to do was purchase something! By the time I got home, it was pouring! I decided I would plant in the rain anyway. It was messy, but I feel so accomplished!

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After I planted the garden, we drove to my mom’s and picked up her leftover straw. I used mulch last year, but it seemed to get moldy and didn’t really keep down the weeds anyway. So, I am trying straw this year. Whatever you do, don’t use hay! Hay has so many seeds in it and will make your garden have so many weeds.

I also recruited a few helpers! I just love spending time with my nieces! They helped with the straw and had a blast throwing it in the air. 🙂 We had such a fun day! It is so neat to hear all of their questions too!

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My favorite question of the night was, “Aunt Sondra, why are your strawberries green?” They kept looking for strawberries and also learned that they start as flowers! Loved teaching them about gardening!

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Overall a very good day! Now, if those temperatures will just stay above freezing! I’m hoping I don’t have to cover them tomorrow night. 🙂