Our family can eat fruit everyday! All types but strawberries definitely are a family favorite! Strawberries are in season in Central Ohio around the first 2 weeks in June. Several u-pick farms are in our area and it’s worth an early morning activity to pick a bunch! Lucky for us, our major grocers keep our produce sections well stocked with various fruits year round. Usually though, it isn’t super sweet when it’s not in season. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying them though; we just have to get creative to get that unmistakable strawberry sweetness! One of our favorite ways is our Strawberry Jell-O Pie recipe. Steve’s mom gave me this recipe years ago. You can find different variations of the recipe on tons of different websites. This one though works perfect for us. So here goes . . .
1 Keebler Shortbread Ready Crust
1 Pound Strawberries
1-1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 Cup Sugar
1 Package Strawberry Gelatin (3.5-4 oz size)
I’m going to let you in on one of my biggest fears: knives. When I graduated from high school, I was looking for a summer job before I went off to college. Somehow I got into selling knives, lol. Very expensive knives! I would go into folks’ homes and give a small demonstration along with a very well-rehearsed speech about why you had to buy these seriously over-priced knives. While giving a demonstration on how sharp the blade was on the full tang knife (yes, I could tell you all about how a quality knife should be designed, lol) I ended up cutting my index finger so bad that I probably should have gotten a few stitches! No, I didn’t get the sale and actually bled on my potential client’s beige couch, lol. I quit the knife business after that incident, lol! Then my close high school friends and I got an apartment together my second year of college. We had this great idea of having a house-warming party to get much needed apartment items. Having a fear of knives from my knife selling days led me to using a butter knife to cut up the veggies for the veggie tray. My hand slipped and I cut myself deeply a second time (and again I should have gotten a couple of stitches)! With a freaking butter knife! So between these two events, I have a ridiculously huge fear of knives. My fear is so conscious altering that anytime I attempt to use a knife, I end up cutting myself!
So I get around cutting up strawberries with a little trick I will share with you. First off, wash your strawberries. Cut the tops off (again, I use a butter knife, lol). Now here’s the cool part! Get your egg slicer out! Put your strawberry in your slicer (cut side down). Push down and let those metal strings slice your strawberry into perfectly even slices! I will admit, egg slicers aren’t meant for strawberries and after a while, it may break a metal string or stretch one out. I don’t mind getting another egg slicer every so often if it prevents me from getting another major cut (they are pretty darn cheap)! I’m just happy I’m not using a knife trying to cut even slices out of such a tiny piece of fruit! So that is my strawberry slicing trick, use an egg slicer!
Arrange your sliced strawberries into your shortbread crust.
In a medium saucepan, add the water (use cold water). Add the cornstarch and blend it until the cornstarch is dissolved. It is always better to add cornstarch to cold liquid or you will end up with ugly clumps that are really hard to get rid of. Add the sugar to the saucepan and give it a good stir. Over medium heat, bring your sugary mix to a boil stirring frequently. The sugar water will begin to really thicken. Once it begins to boil, continue to boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the gelatin. Give it a good stir. Set aside and allow sauce to cool down for approximately 5 minutes.
Once sauce has cooled to the touch, pour over your strawberries. Push down the strawberries with the back of a spoon to ensure the sauce has covered all of the slices.
The great thing about Keebler’s Ready Made Crusts is that the lid inverts to become the pie’s cover! So cover that bad boy up and stick it in the fridge for 2-4 hours until the gelatin completely sets. Serve with whip cream (optional). Super easy and super delicious!
Those who are parents know that in a toddler’s eyes, 2-4 hours is a life-sentence! Spencer just kept hollering, “My pie! My pie! My pie!” LOL. So I had another pound of strawberries I cut the tops off of and chunked up (yes, I used a butter knife). The strawberries were quite tart. No biggie, I’ll share another secret. I’m sure most folks know this secret too. Put the strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the strawberries. Give them a good stir and stick it in the fridge.
Sliced strawberries juice up quick. Remove after 5 minutes and you will have a light sweet syrup coating your strawberries that will completely mask the tartness. Just know that if you leave it in the fridge for too long, you will have a major syrupy mess with mushy strawberries. So just a few minutes is all it takes to make perfectly sweet strawberries. Spencer loves his strawberries sweetened this way, so much so he was willing to put his water gun down!