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Strawberry Fields Forever

story by Becky Junkin  •  photography by Becky Junkin



When I was a small child, I loved strawberries. I mean I really, really loved strawberries. My neighbor had a strawberry bed. It was about three-feet high and was circular with the circles getting smaller as they went up. I remember climbing to the very top circle and sitting there and eating all of the strawberries around me. When they found me, I had eaten most of the strawberries and was covered with whelps. Apparently, large quantities of strawberries in a very small body are not a good idea. Actually, it was years before I could eat a strawberry without breaking out in hives.


My grandchildren from Birmingham, Alabama, go to a strawberry farm and pick strawberries. Each person gets a bucket and picks until he or she is tired or the bucket is full. My grandson Hartman, who is two, picks one and then eats three. When he arrives at the checkout counter, he has an empty bucket, full stomach, and a sticky strawberry face. My daughter-in-law’s family has been berry picking for years, and they usually all go together and cook up yummy desserts for the family. Among all of the family members, they have a large number of berry recipes; and this month, I am featuring these strawberry recipes.



This recipe came from Andrea, the sister of my daughter-in-law, Stacey. It makes a strawberry pie that tastes just like Shoney’s famous strawberry pie.


Strawberry Pie

1 quart strawberries

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

3 tablespoons lemon or strawberry Jell-O

Food coloring to desired color

1 baked pie shell


Combine sugar, salt, cornstarch, and water. Cook until clear and thickened. Remove from heat, and add Jell-O and food coloring. Cool and pour over strawberries in pie shell. Refrigerate.



This recipe from Deborah Willis makes a delectable dish that was enjoyed by her own kids growing up and still is enjoyed by them and by all of her grands.


Croissant French Toast with Fresh Strawberry Syrup

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar

4 large day-old croissants

3/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

For syrup:

1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange rind


Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Chill. Slice croissants in half lengthwise. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into a shallow dish. Dip croissant halves into egg mixture, coating well. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 croissant halves, and cook about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and croissant halves. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar; top each serving with whipped cream and 2 tablespoons of fresh strawberry syrup. For the syrup, combine all ingredients in a saucepan; let stand 30 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Yields about 2 cups



Andrea had this recipe that makes a perfect fruit salad on a hot summer night.


Fruit Salad

1 papaya or mango*

1 cup strawberries

2 kiwis

1 banana

2 navel oranges

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)

3 to 5 sprigs fresh mint

1 cup raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries


1 papaya or mango*

1 cup strawberries

2 kiwis

1 banana

2 navel oranges

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)

3 to 5 sprigs fresh mint

1 cup raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries


Peel and dice the mango or papaya, and put in a medium bowl. (*I buy the fresh mango already cut into slices. It is much, much easier.) Trim out the strawberry stems, and cut in half or quarter strawberries depending on size. Add to the bowl of fruit. Peel and slice the kiwi, and add to the bowl. Peel and slice the banana; add to bowl. For each orange, cut the top and bottom off just deeply enough to expose the inner fruit. Following the curve of the fruit, cut off the skin and pith in panels. Holding the orange over the bowl, cut between the membranes to free the citrus segments. Let them fall into the bowl as they are cut free. By hand, squeeze all the juice from the remaining membrane over the fruit, and then discard. Repeat with the other orange. Lightly stir the honey and Grand Marnier, if using, into the fruit. Strip the mint leaves off the stem, tear or chop leaves into smaller pieces, and stir these into the fruit salad. Add the berries and set aside for 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve and enjoy.



Kay Jinkins gave me this recipe for strawberry fig preserves. I love figs and strawberries, so this recipe is one of my favorites.


Strawberry Fig Preserves

10 cups figs

4 large boxes strawberry Jell-O

8 cups sugar


Mash figs to a pulp. Add sugar and put on medium heat. Cook 40 minutes. Turn off fire. For the Jell-O mix, add 2 cups hot water to 4 boxes of Jell-O. Add this to figs that you cooked. Put into sterilized jars. Note: 5 pounds of sugar equals 10 cups.



This recipe came from Sissy Eidt Browning. She made the cake for a dinner party at her home, and it was perfect. She found this recipe at www.life-in-the-lofthouse.com. It is easy and oh so good.


Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cake

1 box white cake mix

Eggs, water, and oil as needed from the back of the box

1 3-ounce box strawberry Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

*1 8-ounce container Cool Whip, thawed

Strawberries sliced for garnish


Prepare cake as directed on the back of the box, and pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Bake and let cake cool for about 30 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake. Mix together the jello and water until Jell-O dissolves. Carefully pour Jell-O mixture over the cake, and chill for several hours. When ready to serve, spread Cool Whip, as frosting, evenly over the top of the cake. Cut in pieces and serve with sliced strawberries. *To make this even better, frost with freshly beaten and sweetened whipping cream.



I love cheesecake, and this recipe’s cheesecake is perfect for a hot summer night. Stacey’s family serves this as dessert during the holidays and special occasions.


Strawberry Glazed Cheesecake

For crust:

3/4 cup coarsely ground pecans

3/4 cup finely ground graham crackers

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

For filling:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

For topping:

2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

For glaze:

1 quart strawberries

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 12-ounce jar seedless raspberry jelly

1/4 cup Cointreau


For crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Lightly butter a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom of springform pan.

 For the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Spoon over crust. Set pan on baking sheet to catch any butter that may drip out. Bake a 10-inch pan for 40 to 45 minutes or a 9-inch for 50 to 55 minutes.


For the topping, combine topping ingredients and blend well. Cover and refrigerate. When cake finishes baking, spoon topping over, return to oven, and bake 5 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.


For the glaze, combine a little jelly and cornstarch; and mix well. Add Cointreau and remaining jelly, and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened and clear. Let cool. Cut tops off strawberries and arrange on top of cheesecake. Pour glaze over strawberries.


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