Strawberry Fields Forever

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May 17, 2013

May is National Strawberry Month and all across the country towns are paying tribute to the delicious and versatile fruit with festivals, contests, and lots of strawberry shortcake. You can pay tribute too by looking to the strawberry for wedding inspiration. Whether you want a down-to-earth casual barn feel or an elevated black tie ball, the strawberry is there to help you set the mood. Just think of it: bridesmaids dressed in shades of pink and red, groomsmen in red textured ties against crisp white shirts, guests sipping on strawberry cocktails and tables adorned with little jars of homemade jams. Or maybe on the more sophisticated side a white buttercream cake with a cascade of strawberries spiraling down, martini glasses with a slice of strawberry on the side, and red roses in crystal vases at the center of every table. Strawberries are infused with romance and love and are primed to compliment any wedding celebration, so as you and your fiancĂ© hash out your wedding theme, consider the strawberry. Or if not, at least enjoy a few with a dollop of whipped cream. And for a cute favor idea and a way to save a little cash check out this recipe for homemade strawberry jam brought to us by the barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten Ingredients 3 pints fresh strawberries 3 cups superfine sugar 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier) 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and small-diced 1/2 cup fresh blueberries   Directions Place the strawberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain and hull the strawberries. Cut the larger berries in half or quarters and leave the small berries whole. Place the strawberries in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot such as heavy Dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and orange-flavored liqueur. Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple and blueberries and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take 25 to 35 minutes. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then store covered in the refrigerator. It will keep refrigerated for at least 2 weeks. To keep the jam longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer's instructions. -Lindsey 3603be80-ce08-e3a1-0909-910482d470cb