- Cullman, Alabama


May 9, 2014

Pick up that key ingredient at annual Strawberry Festival

From his momma’s recipe box, Ben Johnson found these strawberry recipes just in time for the kickoff of Strawberry Fest.

According to Ben, his mother Ruby Johnson, known affectionately as “Miz Ruby”, was an enthusiastic and accomplished hostess. “People will probably remember that my dad, also Ben Johnson, was the person who established Wallace State Junior College and was its first president,” said Ben. “Momma had lots of opportunities to entertain. Plus, Miz Ruby was in every book and study and garden club in town.” he laughed.

The following recipes were taken from her family cookbook.

Miz Ruby's Rum Punch

1 oz. Captain Morgan rum

1/2 oz. Malibu Coconut

1/2 oz. Bacardi Silver

2 oz. pineapple juice

1 oz. orange juice

Chill, shake and strain all ingredients over ice. Add a splash of ginger ale. Layer with 1 1/2 oz. of strawberry purée (**see recipe below). Garnish with pineapple/strawberry spear.

**Blend 10 strawberries, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of water.

— Julius Valentine, All Steak’s back room

Miz Ruby’s Strawberry Pretzel Salad

“This is ‘so Southern’ and ‘so very German Cullman’, Momma served it at ladies' luncheons,” says Ben.

Crust ingredients:

2 cups of German pretzels, coarsely crushed

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Crust directions: Mix crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter together and press into a 9"x 13" greased pan. Bake at 325º for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Base layer ingredients:

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 cups whipped topping

Base layer directions: Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar. Add whipped topping, mixing well. Spread evenly and completely over cooled crust.

Top layer ingredients: 2 10-ounce packages frozen strawberries, thawed; 2 cups pineapple juice; 6-ounce package strawberry flavored gelatin

Top layer directions:

Heat pineapple juice and dissolve gelatin. Cool and add thawed strawberries. Refrigerate until thick and spread over the base layer. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into desired servings and lift each onto a leaf of lettuce.

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