Late spring to early summer is the ideal time to indulge in freshly picked strawberries. Low in calories, highly nutritious, and, of course, undeniably delicious, strawberries are the perfect way to create a fresh and light summer meal. Add strawberries to every dish and even your drinks to take advantage of these bright red sweet berries.
Picking and Eating the Perfect Strawberries
When looking for the perfect strawberries, choose berries that are already bright red with bright green tops. Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked, so if their flesh is partly white, pass them by for ruby red berries.
Size is not an indicator of taste. Small or large strawberries will be equally sweet and tasty – just be sure to pick a pack of ripe strawberries!
Once you get your strawberries home, do not wash or take off the tops until you are ready to eat them. However, you should try to eat them within one or two days of purchase.
Store strawberries in a covered container in your refrigerator until ready to eat. To prepare, gently rinse them in a colander and remove the tops with a paring knife.
Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1/2 pint strawberries, washed and hulled
2 1/2 quarts water, divided
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup lemon juiceDirections:
1. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor until liquefied. Combine strawberry puree and 1 cup of water in a saucepot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
2. Pour the berry mixture through a fine strainer or chinois to remove all seeds and pulp. Pour the berry mixture back into the pot with the sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 or 4 minutes.
3. Let mixture cool then pour into a pitcher. Mix in the rest of the water and lemon juice and stir. Chill until ready to serve.
Fresh Fruit Salsa
Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
5 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 quart strawberries, finely chopped
1 pint fresh blackberries, chopped
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
2 tablespoons any flavor fruit jelly
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons habanero hot sauce or tabasco
1 (7-ounce) can green salsa
1/3 cup lime juice Directions:
1. Combine kiwis, strawberries, blackberries and apples in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together jelly, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, habanero sauce, salsa and limejuice.
2. Pour mixture over fruit and stir gently to combine. Serve with tortilla chips.
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
Makes 6 servings Ingredients:
16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste Directions:
Gently mix together strawberries, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Cover and let sit for at least one hour or up to four hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with fresh pepper. Serve as an hor'dourve with toothpicks.
Strawberry, Chicken, and Spinach Salad
Makes 2 servings Ingredients:
2 teaspoons corn oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, cubed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons milk
2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
4 fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds
Freshly ground black pepper to taste Directions:
1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Season chicken with garlic powder. Cook chicken for 10 minutes or until fully cooked.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger and milk.
3. Place spinach in a bowl and toss with dressing. Top with chicken, strawberries, almonds and black pepper.
Baked Ham with Strawberry Sauce
Makes 12 to 16 servings Ingredients:
1 (9- to 12-pound) fully cooked semi-boneless ham
2 to 3 tablespoon honey or corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (12-ounce) can unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and place ham on the rack of a large roasting rack. Bake 15 to 20 minutes per pound (instructions will be on ham label). When there is about 30 minutes left to bake ham, brush it with honey or corn syrup.
2. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch and pineapple juice in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring until sauce is smooth and thick. Take mixture off of heat and add in the orange zest and strawberries.
3. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over the ham and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove ham from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Serve remaining sauce on the side.
Strawberry Brownie Cake
Makes 12 servings Ingredients:
1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
1 cup strawberry preserves
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
10 fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup chocolate syrup Directions:
1. Following package directions, prepare brownie mix. Pour into two 8-inch round cake pans and bake. Let fully cool.
2. Place one half of the brownie cake on a cake plate and top with half the preserves. Layer the second cake on top. Spread the rest of the preserves on top.
3. Cover the tops and sides of the cake with whipped topping and decorate with fresh strawberries. Drizzle chocolate sauce on just before serving.
For more about strawberries read:
Super health benefits of strawberries
Succulent strawberry recipes
California Strawberry Commission