JoyFoodly has recently partnered with Whole Foods Market in Northern California to help get families cooking together each season. The new Now in Season program at Whole Foods will feature one seasonal produce pick every month, and JoyFoodly is creating fun family recipes with those fruits and veggies. This month is strawberries, and we’re starting out with an easy strawberry recipe that’s full of fun and kitchen science lessons!
Have you ever seen the joy on a child’s face when they make homemade whipped cream? They shake and shake and shake. You can see how focused they are trying to get that thick liquid cream to turn into a solid, yet fluffy, whipped cream. It’s magical.
And there is nothing better than berries dipped in homemade whipped cream, is there? Right now, my favorite berries for dipping are strawberries. These bright red juicy berries are perfectly sweet and tangy when they are in season. To pick the best berries when you’re in the store or at a farmer’s market, you can look for a few indicators:
- Look for shiny, plump, red berries with fresh looking green caps.
- Try to avoid strawberries that have partly white areas, as they will not continue to ripen after picked.
- Smell the strawberries! They should smell very fragrant and sweet.
Remember: you can always talk to the produce person in the grocery store if you aren’t sure about something. I know the produce people at Whole Foods Market by name, since I’m always asking for their inside tips and suggestions! We also made a little video to give you some tips on prepping strawberries:
One of the simplest ways to dress up this glorious berry for a special treat is to pair it with a little homemade whipped cream. Making whipped cream with kids is one of my all-time favorite ways to teach science in the kitchen. What makes all that shaking turn a liquid into a solid? Here are a few things I love to share with kids, and so can you:
- You need full fat whipped cream. It’s the fat molecule that we need to bind to the air that we are whipping into the liquid.
- Brrrr….make sure the cream is cold, the jar is cold, or the bowl and whisk are cold when you start. A cold fat molecule is more stable and will bind to the air quicker once you start beating.
- If you shake long enough, you’ll get butter! At some point, if you keep shaking you’ll make butter, so it’s important to pause every now and then and check for soft peaks in your whipped cream. What happens is the air molecules and fat molecules create a structure that’s too much to support. When that happens, the butterfat liquid will separate and you’ll get clumps of a solid and a little liquid…the beginnings of butter!
You, too, can turn any ordinary day into a magical experience with your kids in the kitchen with just a little shaking, some delicious strawberries, and a sense of adventure! See our technique timeout for how to make whipped cream, and learn how to make Strawberry Fools with the recipe below!
- Strawberries, fresh, 12 ounce basket
- Orange, fresh, 1 (approximately 3 tablespoons juice from the orange)
- Heavy cream, ¾ cup
- Vanilla, 1 teaspoon
- Powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon
- Mint, a few sprigs
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Wash and hull strawberries. Cut strawberries into large dice by first slicing them down the middle, then cutting strips and dicing the strips. Place in a medium sized bowl.
- Zest orange and place zest on top of diced strawberries. Juice orange and add it to strawberries. The acid from the citrus will help macerate the strawberries.
- With a fork, mash the strawberries until most are smashed but some pieces are left whole.
- Make the whipped cream (see step-by-step images here): place the heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar into a mason jar and close the lid. Ask a child or family member to shake the jar until the cream forms stiff peaks. It will take between 3-5 minutes of vigorous shaking to turn that liquid into whipped cream gold.
- Be sure to check your jar periodically as you are shaking, so that you don't over whip the cream. An over whipped cream is very grainy and on its way to becoming butter.
- In the bowl that contains the strawberries, gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the strawberries. To fold: slowly and lightly use a spatula to make long, delicate turns with the spatula when blending in the whipped cream. This will keep the dish light (not deflating the air bubbles you’ve just trapped into the whipped cream). Then, gently fold the remaining cream into the strawberries.
- Have your kids help you put the “fool” into individual fancy glasses and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to have dessert. You can garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!