Strawberries


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.

Recipes

Strawberry-Lemon Curd Tart
by Jennifer A. Wickes
copyright 2003

1 pint strawberries, halved– rinsed and drained
1 cup lemon curd
1/3 cup almond paste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 large egg — beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pie crust – prepared, not cooked
powdered sugar for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350 and place your oven rack to the middle position.

Beat the almond paste with a mixer until smooth. Add the butter, and keep mixing. Pour the egg, and vanilla extract into the mixture and beat for about 4 minutes until light and fluffy.

Spread the mixture on top of the pie crust.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the almond paste mixture is golden brown.

Allow the tart to cool completely.

Pour the lemon curd on top and spread evenly.

Add the strawberries on top.

Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to serving.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Yields: 8 servings

Strawberry Scones
by Jennifer A. Wickes
copyright 2003

This recipe won a competition through Cook’s Illustrated magazine in May 2005.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup strawberries — sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg — beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg — beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C) with rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly spray with a non-stick vegetable oil. To make the glaze, mix together the beaten egg with the cream. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, two knives, or fingertips. This mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup, combine the whipping cream, buttermilk, beaten egg and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid, stirring with a wooden spoon until the batter forms moist clumps. The batter will be sticky. Do not overmix. Carefully, add the sliced strawberries.

Gather dough together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead for about 10 seconds until dough forms a ball and is smooth. Pat dough into a 7 inch (17.5 cm) circle that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Using a sharp knife, cut circle into 8 triangular sections. With a pastry brush, brush off excess flour from scones, and place scones on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of scones with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with sugar (if desired).

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until lightly browned, or a toothpick inserted in the middle of the scone comes out clean. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yields: 8 servings

Chocolate Covered Stawberries
by Jennifer A. Wickes
copyright 2003

3 pints fresh strawberries
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1-tablespoon strong coffee or espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wash the strawberries in cold water. Gently pat dry.

Line a platter with waxed paper.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and vegetable shortening together. Stir continously until smooth.

Add the coffee and the vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

While the chocolate is hot, dip and swirl the strawberries in the chocolate holding onto the green stem.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yields: 6 servings

Note: If the chocolate is not sticking to the strawberries, make sure the strawberries are dry. If they are, then heat the chocolate up a little longer.

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