Spring has been slow to come this year and so the local produce has only just begun to trickle into the markets around Philadelphia. Happily, a much-welcome dose of spring arrived on my doorstep a couple weeks back, in the form of a large box of Driscoll’s strawberries.
Months ago, Driscoll’s and OXO hatched a plan to gather up a gaggle of food bloggers, send them an assortment of tools and berries, and see what they created. For me, it couldn’t have come at a better time, as I was positively itching to get my hands on some fresh ingredients.
One of the tools that came in the box was OXO’s new berry huller and I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s a strawberry game changer. I’ve used their previous huller and while it was a good tool, I always defaulted to a paring knife.
But, now having tried this new huller, it is my go-to strawberry prep tool. It is incredibly easy to use, cleanly removes the hard white center, and makes it possible to whip through four or five pounds of berries in no time at all.
I made three different preserves with the berries Driscoll’s sent and I’ll be sharing those recipes over the course of this week. The first one is a variation on the strawberry caramel recipe that I wrote for Simple Bites a couple weeks ago. The second is a maple sweetened strawberry butter. And the final batch was honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam.
I love the basic version of the basic strawberry caramel, but I’ve long thought that it would be delicious to infuse with lavender for a more complex flavor. And since I spotted OXO’s twisting tea ball, I had a feeling it would be the perfect infusion tool (short answer: it was!).
You start with one pound of strawberries, hull them, and puree them (just pop them raw into a blender or food processor) until smooth.
Then, combine 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar with 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Measure 2 teaspoons of dried lavender buds (culinary grade) into your tea ball and add it to the pot. Place it over high heat and bring to a boil.
Cook the syrup until it reaches 250°F/121°C. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in prepared strawberry puree (you should have about 2 cups) and the juice of 1 lemon. Return the pot to the heat and cook until the temperature reaches 218°F/103°C.
Funnel the sauce into two prepared half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
This sauce is amazing drizzled over ice cream, angel food cake, or a piece of crunchy, buttered toast (it is entirely decadent but ridiculously good).
Now for the fun part. OXO and Driscoll’s are giving away a pretty terrific prize pack. The lucky winner will get one of those fabulous strawberry hullers, a three-piece OXO berry bowl and colander set, a $70 gift card to OXO.com, and a year’s supply of Driscoll’s berries. You enter via the widget below (not by leaving a comment on this post). The giveaway will close at 5 pm eastern time on Friday, May 30, so make sure to get your entry in!
To see what the rest of the participating bloggers made, make sure to click over to their sites!
a farmgirl’s dabbles
Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker
Crepes of Wrath
Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Eat Your Heart Out
Eats Well With Others
Food n’ Focus
Never Enough Thyme
Disclosure: Driscoll’s and OXO provided the berries and tools I used and featured in this post and are also providing the prize pack. They did not compensate me for my participation and my opinions are entirely my own.
Looking forward to your strawberry recipes. We are in top strawberry season and have wonderful local berries available here.
Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂
Wow, this recipe looks phenomenal! I can already taste all those interesting flavors.
Years back, my auntie gave me one of her “Tomato Sharks,” which is essentially a toothed metal teaspoon that does a great job of hulling tomatoes or strawberries. It’s been indispensable to all my strawberry projects since.
Question. I made the strawberry preserves you demoed in the book signing in Memphis (you even liked my Instagram photo of them!) but one jar looked really dried out on top, like dried bubbles. I canned them for the appropriate time…after the botulism chat we had that night, I pitched them!
That’s weird that they got all dried out on top. But since they made you uncomfortable, you did the right thing (though remember, botulism can’t grow in high acid environments!).
Wow, what an awesome giveaway, that’s heavenly!!!
I love the recipe, am going to make that when my lavender is ready…thank you!!! 🙂
Conventional strawberries are on the dirty dozen list… these are something that you should always buy organic!
Strawberries are just coming in now in my area, Can’t wait to try some new & fun recipes! 🙂
Question: I make a lot of different kinds of caramel corn…so you think I could toss popcorn with this caramel and it would work (I usually bake the caramel corn for 40 minutes after tossing it).
I’m interested if this would work too, did you try it yet?
I think it would work. Though I might cook the starting caramel up a little higher to ensure that you have something that will adhere fully to the popcorn.
That sounds like such an awesome idea! Did you (or anyone else) try it?
Would be great over pound cake or lemon loaf
Made this this weekend and the strawberry flavor is fantastic! Though, I’m not sure I let the sugar caramelize enough – I waited until it hit 250, but I’m not sure it was the right “copper” color. Would you suggest adhering more closely to the temp reading, or the color? And if lighter, is the sauce I currently have still shelf-stable? Many thanks!
Wow! Thanks! Well one lucky person will be busy canning this summer with all those strawberries : )
It’s nice to be catching up after being unable to read posts for a while due to Hubby’s heart attack and subsequent triple bypass. I’m taking full advantage of Florida’s exceptional bounty of items with Vitamin C to aid his healing. Yes, bring on more strawberries, please! That huller looks divine!
The u-pick black raspberries in my area will be ready this Sunday. Would love to make this caramel with them. If I kept the fruit:sugar:lemon juice ratio the same, would it be safe to water bath process?
It would be safe. The only thing I’d do differently is that I’d seed the raspberry puree before adding it to the sugar.
Thanks for the tip. This is up next, I’ve the black raspberry preserves from the blue chair jam book on the stove now. We managed to grab ~11 lbs of berries today in an hour and a half, loving it!
Have you shared the other two recipes yet? I can’t find them in your posts, and my berries are sliced and ready to go. Thanks!
I shared the maple sweetened strawberry butter: https://foodinjars.com/2014/06/strawberry-maple-butter/
I’ve still got the other recipe on my list to post.
What is the approximate shelf life of this? Thanks!
A year or more. It’s got a lot of sugar, so it should keep for a long time.
I made followed this recipe, but when I added the strawberry puree, the caramel balled up and hardened. Did I pour in the puree too quickly?… or did I let the caramel sauce get too hot? HELP! It smelled amazing and I am dying to try it again after I understand what might have gone wrong! 🙂
The caramel will sometimes seize when you add the strawberry puree, but it should relax again as you stir the puree in. If the caramel doesn’t soften at all, it might be that you let the sugar get too hot.
As a head’s up to those checking out the recipe… I made this, but substituted rhubarb (and left out the lemon due to it already being appropriately acidic enough. I’m not 100% sure I got it quite dark enough, but it got up to 250 degrees, and it tastes FANTASTIC. The rhubarb and the caramel pair wonderfully and the texture is fantastic.
I may try this again based more on color than temperature (or get a better thermometer, honestly) because I’d love a more pungent dark-caramel-taste. Bringing it to a food swap tonight, I hope it goes over well!
I like to use a shark (corer) to hull strawberries. They are super cheap and work really well. They are pretty easy to find online or in a restaurant store that really focuses on professionals.
Hello, I just made this recipe yesterday and it is definitely runnier then I thought it would be. I am wondering what is the intended consistency? Mine came out like a syrup.
It’s essentially a thick syrup. It will thicken more once you open a jar and put it in the fridge.
Would this still be shelf stable with 1/2 the strawberry purree? I used a thermometer and mine came out more of a weekish strawberry jam because of the water content. Or maybe i should cook the sugar water solution to a higher temperature? The copper color just wasn’t there when the temperature reached 250.
I look forward to trying this one!
I just made your sweet pear caramel from your Preserving by the Pint book last night. It was a huge hit and it’s a very forgiving recipe. I have an earlier printing of the book that says to heat caramel to 350 degrees, but only found out this morning that it should have been 250 (when I found the recipe on Mrs. Wages to share with a friend). After checking the errata page to see which was right, I am happy with my “mistake”, but I’ll definitely experiment with the other way to compare. (It takes longer to get to 350.) With small batches there’s more opportunity to experiment!
Thanks so much for sharing these simple pleasures with the rest of us!
So sorry that you have one of the typo editions, but I’m so glad that it didn’t impact your caramel!