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Just What is a Pint of Strawberries?

Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

So I’m scanning Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream recipe and I see it calls for a pint of strawberries. What does a pint of strawberries even mean? I used to drink a pint of milk as a growing teenage boy. I’ve traded that practice for a pint of beer these days. Either way it’s hard to imagine that a pint (or a quart or a gallon) is a good measurement for fruit. A bushel, sure. I can get behind the idea of a bushel. But a pint? Isn’t a pint a measurement of liquid volume?

A lot recipes call for strawberries by the pint or quart. The trouble is strawberries aren’t always sold that way. Say you need a pint of strawberries, but your market sells them by the pound. How much do you buy? Or what if your recipe calls for 2 cups sliced strawberries. How many of those green plastic boxes do you need?

How Do I Measure a Pint of Strawberries?

A pint of strawberries (or more accurately) a “dry pint” is an antiquated measurement for fruit. It’s a throwback to canning practices (or so I’ve read) and had a direct correlation in making preserves, jams, and jellies – which often require very precise calculations. The pint basket grew from the need to standardize fruit measurements in a day when scales were less common at the point of purchase.

Today the pint-sized green plastic basket is practically a useless measurement. There seem to be no standards in its weight or volume anymore. It’s especially irrelevant to berries like raspberries and blueberries that are commonly sold in plastic clamshell boxes that don’t even come close to being a pint. I’ve measured and weighed and seen for myself.

So I’ve done a little research into what the original intent of a pint of strawberries was intended to mean and cobbled together an infographic from some clip-art I found at Fine Cooking. Presumably the chart works with other fruit, though I haven’t done the leg work to confirm that.

A Pint of Strawberries

How Much is a Pint of Strawberries?
Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Jeni Britton Bauer’s recipe for Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream calls for a pint of strawberries. Which sort of put me off the recipe. After all I’ve come to trust Jeni for almost all my ice cream making needs. Her recipes are so precise and so well explained that I’ve generally adopted her method. So I was peeved by the seemingly imprecise recommendation of a pint of strawberries. As I said I’ve weighed several pint baskets from several local sources and noticed significant differences both in volume and weight.

Which got me thinking. If Jeni relied on a pint as a reliable source of measurement there must be some standard somewhere for a pint of strawberries. Hence the research. Hence the infographic. GREG

Sliced StrawberriesSliced StrawberriesJeni's Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Source Jeni Britton BauerPublished

I chose to strain the strawberry puree to remove the seeds. This is optional.

Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (about 12 ounces)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 ounce cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Hull strawberries and slice into ½- thick pieces. Combine strawberries with ½ cup granulated sugar in an 8″ square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Roast for 8–10 minutes, or until just soft. Let cool slightly. Puree in a food processor with lemon juice. Measure ½ cup of the pureed berries; refrigerate the rest of the puree for another use.

Mix about 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, remaining 2/3 cup sugar and corn syrup in a 4‑quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the buttermilk and reserved strawberry puree and blend well. Strain the mixture into a 1‑gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. Straining the mixture improves the texture, but is optional.

Pour the ice cream mixture into the frozen canister of electric ice cream freezer and run according to directions of ice cream maker. Pack the finished ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours. Makes about 1 quart.

Serve with reserved refrigerated strawberry puree poured over the top (optional).