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It is summertime in western Michigan and where I live, out in the country, the strawberry crops are ready to be picked. Although my family came to this area for decades before my husband and I moved here last year, I had never been strawberry picking! As I was driving to town I spotted a sign for Kokx’s Farm “u-pick” strawberries and thought I’d be a little spontaneous for a change and check it out. I am so glad I did because it was a gorgeous day for strawberry picking! I didn’t pick much, only a quart, but it was a fun 15 minutes that cost me a whopping $2! If you’ve never been strawberry picking, the fields smell AMAZING. I was not expecting the smell of strawberries as I stepped out of my truck. What a pleasant surprise!
As I walked up to the farmstand, I was greeted by the cutest little old man (I have a thing for little old men!) who was so friendly and helpful. I thought it was a little weird that I was alone, but he did not, and he also didn’t laugh (too much) when I told him I just wanted to pick one little green carton. He gave me my carton and sent me out into the acres and acres of fields, where the strawberry smell was even more amazing!
The strawberry plants are small, maybe 18″ in diameter, but they are loaded with berries! I can imagine kids eat more than they pick. The friendly man joked that he weighs kids on their way in and again on their way out so he knows how much to charge their parents. 😉 I was wondering why in all the years we’ve been coming to MI for family summer vacations we never went strawberry picking, but apparently the season is very short! Two weeks is average, three weeks if the farmers are lucky and the weather cooperates. Our family vacations were always in August, well past strawberry season, so no wonder we never noticed the signs!
Once I filled my little quart container and weighed out, I was on my way. Now, what to make with these berries? I was thinking maybe strawberry shortcakes or a fresh strawberry tart, but then I thought of the blueberry muffins I always made on our family vacations (blueberries are an August thing in Michigan) and thought I would try those, except with strawberries! They are so good, with a nice crunchy crumbly streusel top. When I was a kid coming here with my family, we always made blueberry muffins with a crumb topping from a box. I could only ever find them here in Michigan, never back in Illinois, so boxed or not, those blueberry muffins were an annual treat. My mom and I would make them 3-4 times over the course of the two weeks we would be on vacation. I got away from the box mix with our own kids, and thought if it works for blueberries, it should work for strawberries! It’s a very easy recipe, and a favorite of my husband and our 4 daughters. Are you ready for some baking?
Aside from the strawberries, you probably have everything you will need to make these muffins on hand, which is always nice!
Start by creaming 1/4C salted butter, softened, with 3/4C granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Once creamed, add the egg and vanilla. Beat thoroughly, and add the baking powder and salt. Once these ingredients are mixed, slowly add the flour until all ingredients are combined.
Gently fold the cut strawberries into the muffin batter by hand. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of strawberries cut into small pieces. The strawberries I picked were small to medium in size, not the giant ones you often find in grocery stores, and I used 20 berries.
Once the berries are folded into the batter, scoop the mix into your lined (or heavily greased) muffin pan. I LOVE my muffin scoop. It makes the same size muffins perfectly every time. I have a few sizes, which are perfect for mini, regular and large muffins, and double as awesome ice cream scoopers, too! (My husband is a nightly ice cream connoisseur, so they get a workout!)
Now it is time to make the streusel. This is such an easy thing to make- as long as your butter is super cold, so leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to dice it. You’ll need butter, flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
Aren’t those the cutest measuring cups?! I got them in St. Augustine the day we got the “clear to close” on our Michigan cottage! Put everything in your mixer and blend until crumbly, using the whisk attachment. If it seems like it’s not working, keep blending until crumbs start to form.
Once your stresuel is crumbly, sprinkle it on top of the unbaked muffins. Be generous- there is plenty and the more the better!
Now it’s time to bake your strawberry muffins! Wasn’t that easy?! If have a convection oven, bake them at 350 F for 15-18 minutes. (Mine took 16 minutes to bake.) If you have a standard oven, bake them at 375 F for 17-20 minutes. Let cool and serve with additional berries.