Saying 'Yes, Darling" to Strawberry Fro Yo

(Kim O'Donnel)

You know how Jersey has tomatoes, Georgia has peaches and Texas has pecans? Well, Oregon has strawberries. Until I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea. So I got a pint on the side of the road along route 26 last week while driving to the Oregon coast with my mom. After alternating stints in the fridge and rides in the back seat of the car, the pint began to show signs of distress, but it was far from a lost cause. A spinach salad with strawberries might be out of the cards, but I wondered how I could maximize the flavor of these intensely flavored sun-kissed morsels without entering them in a beauty contest.

With the summer solstice approaching this Saturday, my thoughts have turned to my ice cream maker and how I’ve not taken her out for a spin in a year, since before I packed our house in Arlington, Va., and moved out west. For inspiration, I paged through “The Perfect Scoop,” David Lebovitz’s trusty-reliable resource on frozen treats, and the light bulb went off when I got a look at his recipe for frozen yogurt -- with strawberries. In my mind’s eye, I was tasting lots of yogurt, little fruit, much like an 8-ounce cup you’d find in the supermarket. But this version is just the opposite -- loads of fruit, with yogurt in the background; in fact, you might mistake this for a sorbet.

I can’t tell you enough how bright and fruit-forward this sorbet fro yo is; your palate will be refreshed and you’ll think, hmm…when I’ve got this, do I really need ice cream after all?

Do. Try. This. At. Home.

Let's eat down that fridge! The frugal fun begins this weekend. All next week in the blog space, you'll hear from guest bloggers -- from D.C. to Poland. If you'd like to be included on the EDF Honor Roll, e-mail me by Friday, June 19, with your name, city and state (and country, if applicable).

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Adapted from “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled (about 2 heaping cups)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch (Optional; I had neither, so used equal amounts rum. Fyi, a small amount of alcohol reduces freezing point, keeping ice cream or fro yo from getting hard and over crystallizing. And if you can’t have alcohol whatsoever, don’t worry and just omit.)
1 cup plain yogurt (I have used both whole and non-fat varieties and prefer organic brands)
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Slice berries into very small pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and alcohol, if using, and stir to combine, making sure sugar is dissolved. Allow to macerate for about 1 hour at room temperature.

Place berries and juices in the bowl of a food processor or blender, along with lemon juice and yogurt, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or container (I strained my mixture through a fine sieve to remove remaining seeds, but your end result will be fine without the straining).

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer instructions (in my Cuisinart ICE, it took just under 30 minutes).

Makes about 1 quart.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 17, 2009; 7:20 AM ET Frozen Treats , Summer
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Kim: I hear ya on the lusciousness of NW fruit. About 10 years ago, I was in the Portland, Oregon, area with my dad, and we drove out to the coast. We stopped at a farm stand and bought a bunch of produce, including a quart of strawberries, which we were going to take back to my cousin's place as a little gift. Well, we started snacking in the car, and pretty soon, we were scouting for another farm stand as we had entirely devoured the first quart. Ymmm. Had a similar experience in Michigan at a U-pik blueberry farm. MMM.

Posted by: khachiya1 | June 17, 2009 11:28 AM

This...THIS recipe is the reason to purge my freezer during the EDF Challenge! I must make room for my ice cream maker's bowls, and then use them for this fabulous-looking strawberry fro yo!!

Posted by: CentreofNowhere | June 17, 2009 12:47 PM

Yes, Centre, Yes!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 17, 2009 2:18 PM

Last summer when I was in Oregon my friends and I stopped for gas on the way back from a (sadly rainy) visit to the coast there were some guys selling sacks of cherries. I eyed the huge paper sack and asked whether I could buy a smaller quantity and he replied, "why would you want to do that?" He was absolutely right, the cherries were fantastic.

Posted by: Elizabeth_Terry | June 17, 2009 4:34 PM

Tried this last night with my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment. Loved it!! I ripened it over night and it was perfect this morning. One question- by mistake I picked up Vanilla yogurt at the store and now I have a big container of it. The end result using it was a super sweet fro yo. How much of the granulated sugar should I leave out? I bought enough strawberries to make a few batches. So I would rather use up the Vanilla yogurt if I can.

Posted by: jfk641 | June 19, 2009 10:31 AM

Yum! I made this last night with fresh strawberries from the Reston's Farmers Market - delish! I'm thinking next I will try it with peaches and maybe add a pinch of cinnamon.

Posted by: 63jms | June 19, 2009 10:32 AM

Jfk641, in that case, I would reduce sugar amount down to maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 19, 2009 10:49 AM

63jms, I'm looking at Lebovitz's instructions for peach, and he says to use about 5 large peaches, cut into chunks, then simmered in 1/2 cup of water, covered, until soft, about 10 minutes. Then stir in about 3/4 cup sugar, chill.

I'm thinking of blueberry fro yo when they arrive or maybe blackberry!!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | June 19, 2009 10:53 AM

wow - I'm making this right now (with plain organic yogurt) and it's tasting pretty sweet. I don't know if it's a function of the berries, which we got from an organic farm stand.

How little sugar do you think you could get away with in the maceration process? I honestly thing I could go with 1/2 or a heaping 1/3 here.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 20, 2009 6:06 PM

Oh, it's still damn tasty and easy - I'm definitely planning on trying this with blackberries or raspberries. Btt based on KOD's description, I wasn't expecting it to be SO sweet, you know?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 20, 2009 6:13 PM

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