Sunday, July 10, 2011

{I'll be in} the Strawberry Fields Forever.

 Call me crazy but I took my 3 year old son strawberry picking on the farm by MYSELF.  Clearly I didn't think that day through very well.  He thought picking strawberries was fun for the first half pound but I went on to pick a total of 15 lbs while yelling:  "Don't touch that, don't eat those, don't step on that, just PLEASE come help me".

 What a day.  Little did I know, picking the berries was the easy part!  I still had to go home and clean, hull and cook those 15 lbs of sweet beautiful berries.  In the end I made:

6 pints of strawberry freezer jam
6 pints of strawberry lemon lime freezer jam
3.5 quarts of frozen strawberry sauce
2 dozen individual strawberry pies
2 dozen individual strawberry/cream cheese pies
2 dozen strawberry mint ice cubes
8 strawberry honey Greek yogurt Popsicles

Strawberries really take a lot out of you, but it was well worth my effort.  Hands down these berries are much better tasting than anything you can buy at a grocery store and we bought them directly from a local farmer.  Moments like these make me briefly miss my country upbringing.

So today I made a big batch of raspberry ice tea.  Once the tea was nice and chilled I poured the ice tea in glasses and added a couple strawberry mint ice cubes and some fresh mint from my garden.  It sure hit the spot on this hot humid day. 

Here is my recipe for sweetened iced tea:

Fill the tea pot full of water, let boil.
Add 4 double sized tea bags (or 8 regular if you can't do the math), any flavor, to the hot water to steep for approx. 5 minutes.

While the tea pot is heating make simple syrup by adding 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to a saucepan.  Bring to boil.  Let boil for approximately 10 minutes (stir once in a while so sugar doesn't burn and to be sure it dissolves).  Mix tea and simple syrup together and refrigerate till chilled. 

You can serve as is or add flavored ice cubes to the mix.  I've had both watermelon and strawberry ice cubes and both are delicious (and a family favorite that goes fast in this house).  A couple mint leaves gave the tea a great flavor, if you got it, use it, if you don't have it, skip it (don't skip it, trust me). 


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