I forgot a very special member of our Strawberry family recipes when I gave you the most popular items that we made and sold using Strawberries.
I left out Strawberry Salsa.
What??? You never heard of Strawberry Salsa, Mary Lynn made up our recipe for us to use at The Austin House. It proved to be a very popular and a real big seller. All we had to do to create a market was sample it at a craft show one day. I don’t remember which show it was, but I had to just about hog-tie someone to taste it, but when they did, the rest was easy. The people who sampled became my best sales staff. They told everyone in the listening area how much they loved the taste. It was a blend of hot, sweet, spicy and just down right good.
The primary reason she decided to make the salsa first was a monstrous supply of strawberries at the best price available…free. How could we get so many berries free is a strange story.
We have a very good friend that owns and operates Fox Winery in Social Circle, Georgia. We set up our booth at a couple of wine tasting shows that he hosted. He called me one day and asked me if I needed any strawberries and I told him that we always needed just about any kind of fruit. He told me to come down to his shop and I could have a big bunch. I never expected what we saw when we arrived. He had many very large shipping drums of strawberries and they were going to thaw and go bad before he could use them. He said that he had got a phone call from a trucker who had a load of fruit to get rid of at a good price. The trucker was supposed to deliver the fruit to a processing plant here in Conyers. The plant makes many items for McDonald’s, strawberry jam being the target for his berries. It seems that his freezer unit had failed and the tops of some of the barrels had started to thaw. The plant boss told him they could not accept any fruit that had started to thaw, so he started looking for a place to sell his load. He worked out a deal with the winery so that they took the whole load of fruit. Fox Winery makes many different types of wine, and Strawberry wine is one of the local favorites. They called the wine “Strawberry Shortcake”. The reason he called us was he had more berries that he could get to before they thawed and went bad. He had about 100 barrels sitting in back of the service door, 55 gallons drums of frozen (but thawing) strawberries. It took 4 of us to get one of these drums onto the back of our truck. We had a bigger problem getting the drum off the back of the truck. It was so heavy that we had to get one of the people in our business park to use a front-end loader. We opened our drum to find it completely filled with beautiful, crushed, thawing strawberries. I had no idea what we were going to do with that many berries, so Mary Lynn went out and bought as many quart canning jars as she could find and we started filling the jars and processing them. That was the best way we could think to save as much as possible. I worked at how we were going to drain the juice out of the drum. We worked and got crushed berries and strawberry juice to be processed. We worked all day and all night to get as much saved as possible. The next morning we still had about 1/3 of the drum left to be emptied. We started cooking all sorts of strawberry jam and jelly, we even had lots of large not crushed to make preserves from. So that is how we came to have more berries than we could think of a way to cook them. Making Salsa from fruit was something one of us had seen in a magazine, so we thought we would give it a try.
Strawberry Salsa was one of about 25 different ways to use strawberries. More recipes will follow in the future, but this is all about Salsa. I will give you the recipe and then tell you some of the ways people used it.
This is how you get the best results. If you are using fresh berries, put them in the freezer over night. The next day place the berries in a colander and put that in a large bowl to thaw. Let the berries thaw covered overnight in the fridge. What this will do is let the excess liquid drain. This will keep you from having too much liquid. You don’t want runny salsa.
If you are using frozen fruit, open the box or container and pour into a colander and let drain and thaw overnight. Just like with the fresh berries.
After the thaw save the liquid for strawberry jelly or syrup. You can find those recipes in another blog, just go to the archives or use this link for Strawberry Jelly . For syrup use this link
Now that the excess liquid has been drained, proceed with the recipe listed. I am sorry that this update has taken me so long. Have had some health problems that demand my time. I hope you enjoy your salsa and whatever you make with the juice. Any questions, please write and ask.
12 cups chopped strawberries (not too small, bite size pieces)
1 cup light corn syrup
5 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups chopped onion (a mixture of sweet onions and red onions works best)
1 cup chopped seeded Jalapeno’ Peppers (chopped fine). If you wanted a hotter taste you could use 1/4 cup Habanero peppers and 3/4 cup Jalapeno’.
But be careful, too much heat does not work well with a fruit salsa. Fruit salsa works great with a little heat, but if yo are afraid to use any Jalapeno’ peppers use sweet banana peppers or even cubanelle. If you are not sure of a pepper, taste before adding, as you don’t want to make something and then not be able to enjoy it.
4 ounces Lime Juice (you can buy real Key Lime Juice in the grocery store, and that is what we used)
1/8 cup dried or 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon cumin
3/4 cup red bell peppers
1/2 cup green bell peppers
1 teaspoon canning or sea salt
1 cup vinegar
Boil the sugar, vinegar and corn syrup till all the sugar is dissolved. Add the spices and peppers and bring back to a boil. Turn off heat and add the berries. Mix completely and put into wide mouth 16 ounce jars (this is the size that seems to work best for customers and us at the same time. The wide mouth made it easier to get in and out). Clean the tops and put on domes and rings. Process in boiling bath, with 2 inches of water over the top of the jars, for 20 minutes. Remove and let sit overnight to cool. The next morning, check for unsealed jars and re-process. You can also just refrigerate these jars if you plan to eat them.
Using the Salsa:
Mixed with Sour Cream to make a different type of dip for a mexican eating party. At the same party the salsa was put over ice cream to make an unusual desert (sort of spicy-cold).
Mixed with fresh spinach leafs and red onions to make an awesome salad, you can add a little extra virgin olive oil if you like. If you are adding oil, you might want to add just a splash more of vinegar.
Used as a marinade for pork loin then use fresh salsa as a side topping (not the same as you used for marinade).
Serve with chips and traditional salsa as a change of pace.
When you use as just a salsa, why don’t you make special corn chips to dip with. Start with small flour tortilla’s cut into quarters. Bake in oven til crisp then spray the chips with a butter flavor not-stick spray then sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. You can also use whipped cream in place of sour cream for dipping with the cinnamon chips.
I am sure that there are other ideas, but I can’t remember them. But this will get you started. Please let me know any other ways you come up with. I am writing a book about our business and my years as “The Jellyman”, and I want to have ideas for ways to use our products other than traditional. Not that Strawberry Salsa is traditional, but you know what I mean.
Sorry, I could not find a good photo of the salsa to show, I guess you get the picture. Try this recipe and ask some friends to taste. I am sure that they will come up with suggestions on how to use your salsa. Let me know if you come up with a new way, I will post it in a future blog and give you the credit in the blog.
This far from the last strawberry recipe. Between Mary Lynn and myself, we came up with some weird stuff. So keep checking to see just how we cooked up other combinations for the strawberries. On the right side of the blog is an item that says subscribe. Click that and you will get new blogs as a e-mail, you won’t have to keep checking back to see what new post published. Also send me any comments you have or questions. I answer all questions, so far they have been great ideas for the future.
Remember something very important…
John Lennon and The Beatles sang “Strawberry Fields Forever” and that means an endless supply of Strawberries. So keep on picking, eating and cooking with Strawberries.
I hope you enjoy reading my blogs as much as I enjoy writing them.
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