Food Scoop: Strawberry Milkshakes

Lately, I’ve been drinking strawberry milkshakes. Perfect, creamy, strawberry milkshakes.

There’s something really lovely about coming home and finding out that the ingredients I need are, in fact, already in my refrigerator. My grocery list typically includes mundane things like milk, eggs and noodles. Strawberries are a treat, and I’ve been craving milkshakes ever since these shiny red babies came home.

Strawberries, as tempting as they are in the grocery store, seem to develop spots and bruises the moment they arrive in my own kitchen. And since it’s still winter, I can’t hope for the highest flavor.
Still, they are irresistible. After I’ve consumed the blemish-free berries – there’s probably about three in an average box – the rest are perfect for milkshakes.

When strawberries (or any fruit) are bruised, the sugars in the fruit increase. This is why cider was traditionally made with bruised apples. With strawberries, it’s mostly off-putting, at least to me. It bugs me when they have even the smallest bruises.
In milkshakes, none of this matters. When I send strawberries through a blender with a bit of milk, it’s all about the strawberry flavor. Add some vanilla ice cream and I am one happy little milkshake-eating clam.

In the winter, I like to pop in a generous spoonful of jam as well. I’ve been making jam since I was very young, and I love doing it. I love how it captures the full, ripe flavors of summer. When I’m making strawberry milkshakes, then I have a couple choices. Raspberry-currant probably isn’t going to be on many grocery store shelves, but it was a wonderful accent to the fresh strawberries I have right now. I’m sure regular strawberry or raspberry jam would also increase the fruity flavors.

When I was making this a couple days ago, my mother took one look and said, “You’re making enough to share with me, right?” I don’t know how other people feel, but I’m not a huge fan of sharing delicious food. If I’m feeling generous, I might offer up a bite of whatever I’m eating … but if it’s French fries? Don’t expect me to share. Milkshakes? Not those either.

The lucky thing about making milkshakes at home is that I always manage to make a little too much. I can fill up a glass and have just enough left over to let my mother have a small cup of her own. I think it has something to do with the deliciousness that the individual ingredients offer. I just keep adding one more strawberry, or a tiny scoop more of ice cream.

Even though it takes a little effort to get all of the equipment out – and more to get it cleaned – I think a strawberry milkshake is a pretty great way to end a day. I come home after a long day of classes, and after ten minutes of mild exertion in the kitchen, I can relax with a milkshake tinted a delicate pink and tasting of the not-too-far-off summer.

Strawberry Milkshake

1 cup strawberries

¼ cup milk

1 heaping tablespoon berry jam

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

Make sure the strawberries don’t have any leaves or stems on them. If your blender is strong
enough and the strawberries aren’t the size of a fist, you shouldn’t have to slice them up.

In my experience, you always need some small amount of liquid added in order to effectively blend fruit. Add strawberries and milk to blender. I used a Cuisinart food processor, which also works, but I have to keep an eye on leakage. Blend until smooth. It’s important that you make sure it’s smooth before adding ice cream, or you will be left with chunks of fruit.

Add the jam and blend. I recommend whichever kind of berry jam that you like. Strawberry, raspberry and currant will all work.

Once those ingredients are smooth, add the ice cream. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately – in my experience there is enough to share a generous taste.

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