I was extremely excited about making this dessert for the first time. I’ve had it at my in-laws before and had never really entertained the idea of trying to recreate it myself until we went strawberry picking a couple weeks ago. Ever since I’ve had a fridge full of berries; I’ve kept imagining how beautiful food pictures would turn out because of the vibrant red color. Plus this would be a great dessert for a upcoming fourth of July party so I had better get my practice in now.
And so because of the strawberries + jello’s deep red hue and because it was a really nice day out, I thought there was no way I was not getting a handful of great pictures to share along with the recipe.
Chances are that if people are too excited to serve and devour it, you’re not getting a very time lengthy photo-op. Just take your dessert that you spent a few hours slaving over (I’m being dramatic) and eat it. If it’s good enough, you’ll bake it again. And this dessert was beyond good enough.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 6-ounce package strawberry Jell-o
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into small pieces
- 2 cups salted pretzels
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8-ounce tub of cool whip, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, well grease a 13x9 pan. Set aside.
- Combine strawberry jell-o in medium sauce pan after two cups of water are boiling. Stir well until mixed and lower heat allowing to cool down to room temperature.
- Using a large ziplock bag, crush two cups of pretzels using a rolling pin.
- In a medium size saucepan, add butter and allow to melt over med-high heat. Add ¼ cup granulated sugar, whisking well. Next add crushed pretzels and stir with a wooden spoon. When pretzel mix is combined well, add it to 13x9 pan; pressing to the bottom and edges are evenly covered. Set aside and allow to cool down to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese and ½ cup granulated sugar. Use a hand mixer to beat mixture until it appears fluffy and light. Add whip cream and gently fold in until everything is combined completely. Spread overtop pretzel mixture evenly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Next add strawberry slices to jell-o. Stir well. Pour overtop whipped cream mixture; spreading evenly. Return to refrigerator and allow to cool 2-4 hours before serving chilled.
I’ve been wanting to make some homemade jam for quite some time, so I took the kids to Jacquemin Farms in Plain City to do a little bit of strawberry picking. Every year when I remember it’s strawberry picking time, that time is basically over and we have to wait for it to be apple season before we get to experience anything similar.
We got there shortly after they opened for the day (830am) and I was surprised at how many people were already out in the fields picking! Luckily there were still a bountiful amount of strawberries still on the vines. Enough that we came home with 6 quarts of strawberries; probably triple what I actually needed. So I imagine for the next few days, there will be several strawberry-based recipes. That’s convinent even if you can’t make it out to a strawberry farm; strawberries are in season now so they’re not super expensive at the grocery store!
Washing strawberries is the easy part. Finding somewhere to store them turned out to be a little interesting, so I ended up lining the bottom of one of the 4qt carriers with parchment paper and filled it with strawberries to put in the refrigerator.
Next comes the time consuming part – chopping the strawberries. While there’s always the option of washing your strawberries, cutting off the tops and throwing them in the blender, I happen to like my jam chunky and so I opted to slice small and large pieces instead. This means my prep-time was well over 30 minutes.
Now for the real fun part, cooking strawberries. This is one of the quickest ways to make your entire house smell delicious. It’s such a sweet aroma combined with the lemon and sugar; definitely something that you taste test if your impatient like me.
Your jam will eventually thicken after boiling. Because all stoves cook differently; it may before the estimated time given on the recipe card, or it may be longer. You just have to constantly check as not to overcook.
Aren’t they cute!? I’m in the process of making some cute tags for them as well and will post those when finished.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Jam
A small-batch recipe for strawberry jam made with fresh strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
- 4 cups of fresh strawberries, cut into small and large pieces
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Allow strawberry mixture to come to a boil while mixing frequently with a wooden spoon. Scoop up as much foam as you can and dispose in sink. (foam will be a light pink color)
- After removing foam, allow strawberry mixture to continue cooking for 10-15 minutes; constantly stirring. Jam should begin to thicken. If it seems watery still, let it continue to cook but be sure to watch it so that it doesn't overcook.
- When jam seems thick enough your likening, add to clean mason jars and allow to sit out until they are room temperature. Refrigerate after.
- Canned jam lasts 2-3 weeks if it remains in fridge.
- If you want to try a quick set test, freeze a spoon while cooking mixture. When you want to see if jam is thick enough, use spoon to scoop mixture and tilt spoon ovetop a plate. If the mixture runs off the spoon quickly, your jam isn't thick enough.