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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Cooking > Fruits & Vegetables

Strawberries
by Jennifer A. Wickes

History / Geography

Strawberries are a part of the rose family. They have been growing for hundreds of years in America and in Europe. In ancient times, anything that was grown above the land was considered only for the nobility (fruit), where as root vegetables were considered for the poor.

It wasn't until the 13th century when strawberries were actually cultivated. Up until that point, they were picked in the wild. The main native strawberry to the United States is from Virginia.

Varieties / Season
April to June

How to Choose
The strawberry can vary in color: from off-white to a dark red. The smaller the berry, the sweeter the taste! Choose brightly colored strawberries with green stems still attached. Avoid soft, shriveled or moldy berries.

How to Store
Store unwashed berries on a paper towel in a single layer, in a moisture-proof container for 2 - 3 days.

Wine
French Columbard

Hints
Only wash before use.
Pull out the green hull. If you do not have a strawberry huller, then use a straw to push out the center. Then rinse in cold running water in a colander.
To preserve its red color when baking (muffins, cookies, cakes) add a little buttermilk or sour cream in place of the regular milk.

Equivalents / Substitutions
1 pint of strawberries = 2 cups sliced
10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Values
Vitamin C, some potassium, iron, Vitamin A and folic acid.

Alternative Healing Hints / Folklore
Ancient Romans used to treat ailments such as loose teeth and gastritis with strawberries! They were also considered a fruit of the nobility.

More Information
http://www.calstrawberry.com

Recipes

Diabetic Strawberry Jam

  • 4-cup strawberries -- halved
  • 1/2 cup concentrated white grape -- juice (simmered down 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (1-1/2 -- envelopes)
Place berries, juices and lemon rind in saucepan. Mash berries slightly to release the juices. Heat to boiling. Sprinkle with unflavored gelatin. Remove from heat, skim and pack into hot jars with hot lids. Cool to room temperature before freezing. Because this is stored in the freezer, you may use any airtight, leak-proof freezer container for storage, even plastic containers. Tastes better if allowed to sit for a week. Freezes beautifully for up to 6 months.

Fluffy Strawberry Pie

  • 1 package strawberry Jell-O -- 4 servings
  • 3/4 cup milk -- Cold
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups whipped topping -- (Cool whip)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 pint strawberry -- hulled & sliced
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 pie shell -- Baked 9", cooled
Completely dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add ice cubes and stir until melted. Prepare pie filling mix with 3/4 cup milk as directed on package fad about 2 minutes. Blend in gelatin. Chill, if necessary, until thickened. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping and strawberries. Pour into crust. Freeze 1 hour or chill in refrigerator 3 hours before serving. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and additional strawberries, if desired.

Yields: 8 servings

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1-teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3-cup margarine -- softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8-teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 cups frozen, reduced-calorie whipped topping -- thawed, and divided
  • Mint sprig -- (optional)
Combine sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 9-inch round cake pan with wax paper. Coat pan with cooking spray, and dust with 1-teaspoon flour; set aside.

Cream margarine at medium speed of a mixer; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Combine 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in almond extract. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir about one-fourth of egg white mixture into batter. Gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top of cake. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Slice shortcake in half horizontally. Place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate. Drain strawberries, reserving juice; drizzle half of juice over bottom cake layer. Spread 1 cup whipped topping over cake layer, and arrange half of strawberries over whipped topping. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down, and drizzle with remaining reserved juice. Spread remaining cup whipped topping over top cake layer, and arrange remaining half of strawberries over whipped topping.

Source: "Cooking Light, May 1996, page 87" Copyright: "© Cooking Light"

Serving Ideas: Garnish with a mint sprig, if desired.

Yields: 10 servings

Strawberry Soup

  • 1-cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1-tablespoon honey
  • GARNISH: fresh strawberry slices, mint sprigs, or kiwi slices.
In food processor fitted with steel blade, blend ingredients. Serve chilled. Add garnish to each serving.

VARIATIONS: - substitute white or red grape juice for orange juice - substitute apple juice for orange juice ~ serve in hollowed-out cantaloupe shells.

Yields: 4 servings

This article was originally published at Suite 101.

Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cookbook Reviews" and "Cooking With The Seasons", which has been voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! For more information about Jennifer Wickes or her columns, please go to: http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/CulinaryJen

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