Berry Pickin' and Strawberry Granita!

So I thought I might share one of my new favorite summer recipes, Strawberry Granita.

The best part about summer is going out to Sauvie's Island with Morgan and picking fruit. We start the season with strawberries and move from blueberries to peaches. However, it's been so cold lately we haven't revisited for our blueberry harvest.

This year I picked a whopping nine pounds of strawberries! Not only did I get a good arm work out lugging my buckets around, but my legs were so sore the next day. I highly recommend taking a gardening pad to kneel or sit on out in the fields, or else you'll be feeling it the next day.

As for the strawberry granita it's a very simple recipe to make and you don't even need any special equipment, you just need to have time on your hands.

While serving at Fife, diners used to ask me what granita is and I would respond in layman's terms, it's a glorified snowcone. Or if you prefer to put it more delicately than myself (you may be able up sell better than I can), it's also known as Italian Ice.

Now, when I mentioned earlier that you better have time on your hands that's because you can't just leave the mixture to freeze solid. Granita needs to be scraped constantly throughout the freezing process in order to get that nice flaky texture. Will is probably laughing at this part right now because I am the one that makes the mistake of throwing my mixture in the freezer and leaving it to freeze overnight. Partly because I started making it too late in the day and because I hadn't let my strawberry puree cool to room temperature before freezing it. Anyway the next morning I tried to scrape it, but it was rock hard and I ended up hurting my back. Now that is either love of food or just plain stupidity.

So now for the recipe:

Strawberry Granita

What you will need:

1 lb of strawberries cut into small chunks
1/4 cup-1 cup water
1/4-3/4 granular sugar

How to make it:

Now if you have a blender or food processor here's where it comes in handy. You can puree the strawberries while cooking down the sugar in the water until dissolved and then adding it to your strawberries.

If you're like me and have a very bare bones kitchen then you will have to cook down your strawberries to make a puree. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat (about 15-25 min depending on your ratio) until your mixture resembles a mush.

Start with 1/4 cup of water and gradually add more to thin out the fruit. As for the sugar I only used 1/4 cup because my strawberries were so sweet.

Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. At this point you can anything else to spice up your granita (I used fresh squeezed orange juice). Anything will do though: vodka, sparkling wine, lime juice, orange juice, fresh herbs (I've been dying to try it with basil).

Once cool you can strain out the pulp or leave it in the puree, I personally like the texture of it.

Pour the base into a shallow baking dish, I use a lasagna dish, and put in the freezer. Set your timer for a 1/2 hour and pull it out then and lightly scrape the mixture with a fork and put it back in the freezer. You will need to do this every half hour until the granita is frozen and resembles flaky snow.

Now you can serve it for dessert or a nice palate cleanser. If you have any left over (I did after making it with 3 lbs of strawberries) you can keep it frozen in an airtight container in the freezer.

Now playing: The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
via FoxyTunes