Cornetha’s Strawberry Candy – And Southern Style Embarrassment


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This is a recipe I got from my Grandmother Cornetha. She and my Papa Reed (Mama’s Daddy) got married when my mother was fourteen, adding a whole other branch to our family tree. Honestly, at this point we got one of those HUGE oak trees with all of the branches jutting out all over the place (you know I had thirteen living grandparents when I was born, right?).

Cornetha (called Mama Reed by my children) and Papa hosted all of the big Reed family reunions at their farm each summer and she used to let us come stay with them during vacation bible school week so that we could attend it at her church. I loved getting to spend the night there because each morning she’d let you go and gather the eggs from the chicken coop. Have you ever gathered eggs? It is a bit harrowing for beginners seeing as how those chickens can look a little vicious at times. This is why I made my sister go with me. She was a good chicken-runner-offer and I could just reach into the empty nest and find the little treasures. To this day, there is nothing like fresh eggs for breakfast and my heart will always long for my own chicken coop.

~sighs~ I’m gonna eventually have to leave Bountiful and move to the country, I know. My heart already lives there despite my city limits address.

Of course, there was one drawback of spending the night at the Reed farm – and that was the clothes line. Each morning after breakfast, before we left for church, Cornetha would set out with her basket to the line. You’d hear the clothes snapping as she gave ’em a good shake to get the wrinkles out and then hung them on the line, just knowing that your underwear was among them. This wouldn’t have been so bad back at home because our clothes line was in the back yard but out there on the farm Papa had set Cornetha’s up in the most convenient spot, just outside the laundry room door, parallel with and having an unobstructed view from the road. I remember trying to hide my clothes before I went to bed but let me tell you, I’ve never in all of my born days known anyone more efficient with clothes washing than my Grandmother Cornetha! Lo and behold, no matter what avoidance tactic you used (and we tried them all), come early morning that sun would rise on your undies hanging on the line.

We survived it, though, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world. Come to think of it, I really need to get a clothes line of my own put up….


You’ll need: Sweetened condensed milk, strawberry gelatin powder, green food coloring, red crystal sprinkles, sweetened flaked coconut, finely chopped nuts (I’m using pecans)…

and some slivered almonds.

Pour your sweetened condensed milk into a bowl.

I could just drink a whole can of this if my blood sugar would let me. I swannee, anything with sweetened condensed milk in it is delicious!

Add your coconut and nuts

And gelatin powder.

Stir and stir and stir and stir and stir until it looks like this.

(It won’t take long, I just felt like being dramatic)

Cover with foil and let sit in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

24 hours later…

Oh who are we kidding? Like I’m gonna wait forty eight hours on anything. I didn’t even let my own kids wait til their due dates. I have the patience of a hyperactive gnat on sugar.

So the next day go ahead and take that out (unless you want to follow the original instructions and not be  rebel with me, whatever cranks yer tractor).

Spoon up about a teaspoon full like this.

and shape into a strawberry…

and roll around in sugar.

Now do that a whole bunch more times..

Like this.

Now we need to dye our almonds. I place mine in a sandwich baggie

and pour about a tablespoon or so (I use too much so feel free to use less!) of green food coloring in the bag.

Seal that and move them around to give them a good coating.

Then pour them out onto a paper towel lined plate to dry.

If you like, you can also put them in a baking dish and put them in the oven on 250 to speed up the drying process.

Stick one in the end of each strawberry.

Like so.

and so

Aren’t they pretty? They taste YUMMY, too!

Cornetha’s Strawberry Candy
  • 1 Cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 Cup finely chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 - 3 ounce boxes strawberry gelatin
  • 1-2 jars red sugar crystals (you can get by on one, but I used 1½)
  • slivered almonds (you just need about three dozen pieces, ½ a cup is more than enough)
  • green food coloring
  1. In a medium bowl, combine milk, coconut, nuts, and gelatin powder, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours. Remove and form teaspoonfuls into strawberry shape. Roll in red sugar. Dye almonds green with food coloring and place one in the end of each strawberry as a stem. Store in refrigerator. *Makes about three dozen.

Sometimes we are given guidance through subtle signs, smiling faces, and inner confirmations. I’m always grateful for those. My favorite times, though, are when the guidance comes through the equivalent of flashing lights and neon billboards! I think today’s quote may be a repeat (I might have sent it out in the past two weeks) but the circumstances surrounding it are pretty neat so I’m going to take my big hint and send it again.

You see, I’d never seen, read, or heard this quote until a few weeks ago. Since first happening upon it, I’ve had it emailed to me three times, happened upon it countless others, and just last night Leigh posted it on the Give A Penny Page. So I’m gonna consider that a divine sign that it bears repeating today!

Keep a green tree in your heart

and perhaps a singing bird will come.

-Chinese Proverb Submitted by Leigh. Submit your quote here.


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  1. says

    I love your milk dish. My late husband grew up in the South and loved the milk glass dishes. When he was alive he collected all kinds of milk glass from estate auctions. I’m going to make this candy 2 days before Easter because I gave up candy for Lent. That way I can eat it on Easter Sunday *- *

  2. Becky says

    I had a dear neighbor, Sadie, who made these for special occasions. I used to love when to help her when she would be making these because I always got to take a couple home. I may have to make some soon,I haven’t made them in years! Thanks for your recipes and words of wisdom Christy!

  3. says

    I so hear you about the underwear on the line!!! I just got my own clothesline last year out here at the farm…and it is in full view of the highway and railroad the run through the farm. I’m lucky, though, it is a square umbrella type and I make sure that all the underwear are on the inner lines, surrounded by shirts, jeans and towels to protect the folks passing by from being shocked. Okay, no one needs to know about the drawers worn here!!!

  4. Janet Haywood says

    What would be a good substitute for the almonds so you can still make it look like a strawberry. Half of my family is highly allergic to almonds. My Mom collected white milk glass, which now means I have about 300 pieces of milk glass. .

  5. Dianne says

    I live in a city and have an umbrella clothesline in full view of a walking trail–with a few trees as a barrier, if you can call it that. I’m the ONLY one in my subdivision with a clothesline so you can imagine…there might actually be an ordinance but I’m kinda a rebel in my older years. I’ve gotten so I just put everything out in the best way it will fit–the sheets are an adventure, let me tell you! I love the smell of sun dried undies, t-shirts and, especially sheets. Clotheslines–I wish more people would know the joy of having one.

  6. Tami says

    I loooove these…we called em Strawberry Fakes back in the 70’s and I always made them at Christmas…and as for clotheslines….I live in the city and have one and loooooooove using it…there is no better night’s sleep than one spent sleeping on sheets that have been line dried….long live the clothesline!!!

  7. Marilyn says

    I make strawberry candies for the holidays and for family weddings. My recipe calls for adding vanilla wafer crumbs to make a little stiffer dough. For the person who is allergic to almonds, you can buy plastic strawberry stems in the craft store or just decorate the top with a green frosting leaf.

  8. Brenda Caldwell says

    Christie, I still have a clothesline, and it used to be in the back yard. But adding a new driveway in the back, forced me to move it to the side of the house, in view of the road. Now I machine dry my undies too, lol! But there is nothing like the smell of sheets and towels dried in the sunshine!

  9. redawna says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! My Mama made these years ago when I was a child and she has been gone now for 19 years — these brought back good memories! I think I need to make some for my husband and son!

  10. Vicki Crowe says

    My husband and i have fallen in love with Mooresville. Seems they would allow chickens and such since there is a farm there. So quaint! And you are right! Gathering eggs for beginners can be an experience! I barely escaped from the big hen! Lol! .

  11. Brandy says

    Oh yes! So familiar Christy. My Daddy’s Momma had an AWESOME screened inporch & whenever I would go to share a weekend w one of my cousins I we would sleep out there. We lived in Fl. so we could do it most of the year.
    I have had a clothesline in almost every house we have lived in (married 36 yrs & prior military which makes for A LOT of houses) to the complete & total mortification of my girls! One used to complain of “crunchy underwear” the other has children of her own & yep has a clothesline:)

  12. Diane says

    My mother made these for special occasions too. I disliked making them but LOVED eating them. She had the plastic stems with leaves that we stuck in the top! Not sure what happened to the plastic stems but wish I had them! If I made this recipe, I’d probably just eat it with a spoon out of the bowl. I don’t remember waiting 48 hours to form them-maybe we made them a couple of days ahead of time…

  13. Patti in SC says

    Can’t believe I’ve never seen or heard of these pretty jewels! And oh yes I am a truly thankful Southern girl… uh, old lady of 69 now. But I do remember the good ole days of yesteryear! Thank you, Christy, dear, for this recipe and I definitely shall try this very soon.

  14. Lisa M. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I use to make these 16 years ago and they were very popular at Christmas parties. I lost the recipe & my Mom could not find hers, so I knew I could come to your website and find it. Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  15. Carrie says

    Mine isn’t setting up. It’s just goo. What did I do wrong? Is there a way to salvage them? They’re way cute, but too soft still. We refrigerated them a day and a half before shaping them.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer! My grandma used to make these and I wanted to surprise my family.

    • says

      Hmmm, that’s strange. I wonder what happened. My wheels are turning now! I’d start by working in more coconut but consider adding another box of gelatin because it sounds to me like the problem is most likely gonna rest there. Stir in another box and let it sit a few minutes in the freezer and see if it is firm enough go shape then. Keep me posted if you can.

      • Carrie says

        Thank you!! I going to make another batch and if it feels the same way, I’ll add more coconut first, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that! More gelatin. Ok. That’s a thought too.

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the advice! It’s been foggy and drizzly here the past week so I’m wondering if there was just too much moisture in the air. Too humid maybe.

        Fingers crossed on round 2! I appreciate you!

  16. Julie says

    Oh, my goodness, I was just telling my Arizona born husband about this fantastic strawberry jello candy my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. He didn’t recall the conversation (tuned me out I am sure) and I happened to come upon this post when I was reading through your recipes. You made my day and brought back such fond memories.

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