Summertime Berries

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Although I loathe the extreme heat in the summer, I can’t complain when berries come to bloom during this sweltering weather.  There’s an abudance of ways to eat/prepare berries, which is one of their beauties. 

Growing up, I ate Fruit-Rollups and Fruit By the Foot in abudance but I never knew that they don’t actually have any fruit in them; just HFCS and an array of food colorings.  I realllllly wanted to buy some recently while grocery shopping as I have a thing for nostalgic things, but I resisted!  I came home and made some fruit leather/rollups that are 99% all fruit.  It’s an easy snack that can be used if you have an excess of berries. 

Strawberry Fruit Leather (from here)

4 pounds of fresh strawberries, cleaned and stemmed (or any fruit you would like)
1/2 – 1 cup of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
juice from 1 lemon

Combine everything in a pot and with an immersion blender, blend everything till smooth.  Place on the stove and bring to boil, constantly stirring.  Skim off the foam that forms on top.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 min until the mixture thickens.  Preheat oven to 175 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the berry mixture on the parchment paper evenly and bake it for 8-10 hours, till the center isn’t sticky. 

Let it cool before rolling the parchment paper and slicing the fruit leather to make rolls.

I had a banquest to go to last week and I was in charge of appetizers.  I made a Watermelon Basket, Egg Salad Sandwiches, and a Cream Cheese platter with Habanero Mango Sauce. 

Watermelon Baskets aren’t too hard to do, you just need to measure it out properly and have a carving untensil.  You measure where the midsection of the melon is lengthwise and measure out a thick band ontop of the watermelon for the handel.  Using your carving untesil, you just trace out the pattern you’ve measured out and carefully pull out the pieces that are needed to be removed.  Scoop out the fruit with a ice cream scoop or melon baller.

The Egg Salad sandwhiches followed my deviled egg recipe with the additon of some chopped celery and a squeeze of honey mustard.  Instead of seperating the egg yolks from the whites, I gave the boiled eggs a rough chop and mixed everything together. 

The Cream Cheese platter was pretty simple.  I sliced cream cheese through the middle so theres a top and bottom and laid them out side by side.  I bought a Habanero Mango Sauce but any sweet-spicy sauce will work and poured it ontop of the cream cheese.  Surround by water crackers.

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