Category Archives: Food

How to keep strawberries fresh after picking them locally

A simple method for storing strawberries in the refrigerator

Recently I took my kids for their first trip to pick their own strawberries.  It was long overdue.  I have fond memories of going to a you-pick farm when I was a kid so I’ve been wanting to take them, but life gets busy!

It was a beautiful day to pick up my mom and head out to the strawberry patch at a local farm.  My kids all worked hard finding just the right berries to pick.Strawberry fieldBefore long, we had a lot of strawberries!  It was hard to stop picking them since we can get them fresh from the farm only during a few weeks in the late spring in our area.

My mom took some of them, but that still left us with a bunch of berries.  By the time I got home with them that evening, I knew I needed to find the best way to store all of them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh as long as possible.

I had coached my kids on finding berries that were the perfect shade of medium red since I didn’t want them to be too ripe and spoil quickly.  After picking them, the strawberries seemed to be darkening fast just while stopping at my parents’ house and then driving home.

Fresh strawberries | AMerryMom.com

Some of the strawberries we harvested locally.

When I looked online for the best way to keep strawberries fresh after picking them, I found a couple of suggestions.

One used a wash of vinegar and water.  It was getting late so I wanted to try something that seemed less labor intensive.  Plus, I’ve always heard NOT to wash strawberries before storing them in the fridge.

The other suggestion I found sounded easier, so I went with it.

Well, that suggestion worked so well that I have to share it here, too.  I was thrilled to have local berries that stayed fresh in my fridge for 8 days until we finished all of them!

How to keep strawberries fresh after picking them | AMerryMom.com

How to keep strawberries fresh after picking them

The trick I followed to keep strawberries fresh after picking them?

Simply place the fresh, unwashed strawberries in glass containers in the fridge, arranging the berries in single layers with a paper towel between each layer and then putting on a lid without sealing it.  Leaving the lid unsealed allows moisture to escape, and the paper towel layer absorbs moisture in the container.

The picture below shows the top layer of strawberries on the paper towel in the container.  Don’t those berries look yummy?!  I didn’t take this picture on day 1, though.  This is how they looked on day 8 when I opened the last container! Keep strawberries fresh in the refrigerator after picking them | AMerryMom.com

These berries still tasted great on day 8!  This way of storing strawberries in the refrigerator was so simple and so effective!

I don’t know how much longer they would have been good in the refrigerator.  There were a few that didn’t look as good, but I still felt like this method to keep strawberries fresh after picking them was a great success!

Keeping strawberries fresh in the refrigerator | AMerryMom.com

Yummy strawberries on day 8 after picking them!

Now that we’ve finished all the strawberries we picked, I’m having strawberry withdrawal.  They’re definitely my favorite fruit!

Have you tried harvesting your own fruit and veggies with your kids?

Going to the you-pick farm was really fun for all of us!  After seeing the farm operations up close, my kids came home with a renewed interest in caring for our small garden at home.  I’ll be putting them to work helping me with it this summer!

I shared this post at some of these link parties.

Kentucky Derby pie recipe copycat

Do you like to watch horse racing?  In my hometown, it’s a very big deal.  The Kentucky Derby is always on the first Saturday in May, but Louisville gets Derby fever starting in April.  A full two weeks of events are held each year to lead up to the “greatest two minutes in sports.”

There are lots of traditions associated with the Kentucky Derby, from the red roses to the beautiful hats to the mint juleps.  You may have guessed one of my favorite Derby traditions from the title of this post:  the Derby Pie.

Kentucky Derby pie copycat recipe - AMerryMom.comIf you’ve never tried it, Derby Pie is a fabulous chocolate chip and walnut pie.  There seems to be a widespread fallacy on the Internet that Derby Pie has pecans, but traditional Derby Pie has walnuts.  If you don’t like walnuts, pecans are obviously a common substitution in recipes.  Whichever nut you choose, this is a seriously yummy pie!

Sadly, my recipe is not for the original, one-of-a-kind Derby-Pie® because that recipe is top secret at Kern’s Kitchen, the developer of the pie over 50 years ago.  Their pie is sold in many restaurants, and you can get whole frozen pies at grocery stores in the Louisville area.  If you live elsewhere and want to try the original Derby-Pie by mail order, you can find where to buy it on the Derby-Pie website.  (I have no affiliation with Kern’s Kitchen.  I just think they make great pies.)

I looove Derby Pie any time of the year, but it’s an absolute must-have for our family on Derby Day.  I always buy one of the Kern’s Kitchen Derby-Pies because they really are unique and delicious.  However, I like to make my own pie other times.  That’s where this Kentucky Derby pie recipe copycat comes in handy.  It’s so yummy and very easy to make.

Kentucky pie – Kentucky Derby pie recipe copycat

Ingredients

9-inch pie crust, unbaked (I use a frozen crust that has thawed)

3 large eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

Optional:  whipped cream or ice cream for garnishing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Whisk together eggs, butter, flour, sugars, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Spread evenly in the pie crust.
  5. Bake 1 hour or until the filling is set and the top and crust are light golden brown.
  6. Cool well and enjoy!

I love to top this pie with whipped cream as the perfect companion to the chocolatey goodness!

Kentucky Derby pie recipe copycat - AMerryMom.com

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Kentucky pie - Derby pie recipe copycat
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (I use a frozen crust that has thawed)
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Optional: whipped cream or ice cream for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whisk together eggs, butter, flour, sugars, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Spread evenly in the pie crust.
  5. Bake 1 hour or until the filling is set and the top and crust are light golden brown.
  6. Allow pie to cool and enjoy!

This Kentucky Derby pie copycat recipe is linked at some of these link parties.

Homemade chocolate peanut butter bites

I love to make bite-size sweets.  It’s so easy to serve food that has been prepared in individual portions.

This is especially true with kids in the house.  Have any of you other parents ever found a pie, cake, or pan of brownies in a mess after kids have helped themselves?  My kids are now at the teen and tween years, but they still can’t seem to cut a straight line to serve themselves a dessert!  Individual servings solve that problem.  (OK, maybe it’s not really a problem – unless you’re a little OCD like I am.)

When I’m making sweets, chocolate and peanut butter are always popular requests in my family.  I like this simple, no-bake recipe for chocolate peanut butter bites.  They’re so yummy and just the right size!  These are a great dessert for a weeknight treat or a casual event.Chocolate peanut butter bites - AMerryMom.com

How to make easy, no-bake chocolate peanut butter bites

Ingredients

  • 16-ounce jar of peanut butter  (This can be creamy or crunchy peanut butter, whichever you prefer.  I actually like to use half of a jar of each to get my favorite consistency for the peanut butter.)
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Also have parchment paper on hand to cover a large cookie sheet.

Directions

  1. Use a mixer to combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Scoop the peanut butter mixture into one-inch balls.  (I use a cookie dough scoop, but you could just roll them by hand.)
  4. Place the cookie sheet with the peanut butter bites in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together using a double boiler or in the microwave.  I put them in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, stir, put the bowl back in the microwave for 30 more seconds, stir well to help the last few chips melt, and the chocolate is ready.
  6. Dip the peanut butter bites in the chocolate.  I put a few in the chocolate together, then carefully use two toothpicks to pull each one out.
  7. Place each chocolate peanut butter bite back on the parchment paper.  You may want to drizzle any extra chocolate over them.  I usually have a few bare spots from the toothpicks that I want to cover.
  8. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour until the chocolate is set.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade chocolate peanut butter bites - reciipe at AMerryMom.com

This recipe makes about 40 chocolate peanut butter bites.  After the chocolate is firm, you can stack them in a container to store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cholate Peanut Butter Bites - square

If you like bite-size sweets as much as I do, you may also like my recipe for easy cannoli bites.

This recipe for chocolate peanut butter bites is linked at some of these link parties.