One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Nothing says spring like a big bowl of sweet, fragrant strawberries. These heart-shaped ruby red jewels are the first fruit to ripen in spring. Strawberries are high in nutrients, low in sugar
(only 8 grams), and high in antioxidants. Eight medium-size strawberries contain only 50 calories and have more vitamin C than an orange.
A member of the rose family, no one is quite sure how strawberries got their name. One myth, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, is that nineteenth century English children would pick the berries and string them on pieces of straw to carry them to market. Another is from the practice of placing straw around the berry plants to protect the berries as they ripen.
About 80 percent of American strawberries are grown in California, making them available year-round. However, late spring and early summer is when an abundance of luscious, locally grown berries becomes available. Take advantage of the vanishingly quick season and head out to the farmer’s market – or bring a basket to a pick-your-own fruit farm. If you’ve never indulged before, the taste of a juicy, ripe, fresh picked strawberry will absolutely stop you in your tracks – a little taste of heaven indeed.
Unlike peaches and bananas, which continue to ripen after picking, strawberries do not. Even though strawberries continue to develop a deep red pigment, larger berries aren’t necessarily sweeter. The best way to tell if the berry is ripe for the picking is to take a whiff. A sweet, fruity aroma is a good indication there’s something sweet inside. Choose medium strawberries that are plump and unblemished and avoid berries with white or green patches. Don’t forget to check the bottom of the basket to make sure the berries aren’t bruised or starting to leak.
To store berries, don’t wash them and don’t remove their green caps. Instead, place them in a small colander and refrigerate, uncovered for up to three days. The colander allows air to circulate around the berries making them last longer. Right before using, gently spray them with cool running water and blot dry with paper towels. Don’t remove the green caps until after washing as the caps prevent the berry from getting water-logged.
Strawberries freeze well, and it’s a great way to stock up on the delicious local berries that are available now. Spread them in one layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until frozen. Transfer the frozen berries to zip-close freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months.
Frozen berries do not need to be thawed before using in a recipe. Frozen or partially thawed berries work best in smoothies, muffins, quick breads, and cakes. Paula’s Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake, or Strawberry Pretzel Salad are perfect examples. For uncooked berry toppings like Paula’s Fresh Fruit Tart or Strawberry Shortcake, use only fresh and never frozen berries. Strawberries are not only for dessert, but are berry delicious in salads too! Paula’s Spinach Strawberry and Hearts of Palm Salad and Spinach and Strawberry Salad are perfect for a light lunch. Top them with grilled shrimp or chicken and you have a cool spring dinner.
i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above?
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am
Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am
I WISH I COULD COOK.
COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER?
I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE.
YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE.
19 SPENCER WAY
KINGS PARK, NY 11754
HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am
You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition.
Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm