Last weekend, R and I went strawberry picking.
We got up early and drove out to Hollins Farms in Delaplane, VA, just about an hour away from our apartment. I had never been to a pick-your-own patch before, and this one was beautiful. Check out the rolling hills:
The actual picking was pretty fun; there were lots of people there so it was kind of hard to find good berries, but we spent about an hour and got maybe 5 pounds. It felt really nice to be out in the sun and the air, searching around through the strawberry patch. The whole experience really drove home the fact that I'd love to have a real garden at some point. Let's hope that's a soon point, because I'm getting more and more interested in growing stuff, farming and all that comes along with it, probably because I'm addicted to this ridiculously charming blog.
Strawberries were $2.50 a pound and they also had beets, swiss chard, lettuce, and spinach available to pick. In a few weeks, there will be cherries and peaches, too, so I'm hoping R will want to go out there again. We're pretty obsessed with leaving the soul-crushing traffic of the DC suburbs behind, so it shouldn't be too hard to convince him, especially if I promise him a peach pie (he lived for years in Georgia, so he loves peaches). I ended up picking some swiss chard at the farm, too, and swirled it all up in some green smoothies this week.
I thought I'd try a pudding with the strawberries we picked, but not a gross fake strawberry pudding like the kind you'd buy in little boxes at the store, but a fresh one, as I'd never really had a pudding made from fresh strawberries before. This pudding is like a really thick jam, almost like a pie filling. I combined two recipes to make it, and it came out delicious, gooey and sweet and perfect for summer. It's a nice little easy weeknight dessert, but I think it would be good if you had guests over, too. P.S. The Food Lush method is the best way to wash berries.
makes 4 ramekins
total time: about two hours
total hands on time: 20-30 minutes
What you'll need:
4 cups of strawberries, halved with stems removed
1 cup of sugar (a scant cup, I'd say, especially depending on how sweet your berries are)
2 cups water
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup flour plus 2 tbsps
2 tbsps butter
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
What you'll do:
1. Combine berries, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Let berries, sugar, and water cook on high for a few minutes, about eight or so. The berries should be mushy, mushy enough that you can kind of smash them up against the sides of the pot using a wooden spoon.
3. The water should be reduced somewhat, but not totally. Stir in the lemon juice, butter, and salt, and then, using a whisk, gradually stir in the flour. I turned the heat down slightly here, too. Keep stirring it while the mixture thickens.
4. Once the mixture is pretty thick, quickly add the vanilla and stir until it's incorporated.
5. Pour pudding into ramekins and chill in the fridge for at least an hour and a half.
I ate one pudding the same day and one the day after, and the one the day after was WAY better, so I think this is a good make-ahead dessert too.