"Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did."
William Butler (1535-1618)
I know that this is not really strawberry season, but if you work like I use to, you are probably already testing recipes for your spring menu.
I dare say that strawberries are the favorite and most recognized of all the berries in America. The Shonie's Restaurant chain became famous for their Strawberry Pie.
First, I will cover some facts about strawberries and then give you some recipes that will make strawberries a vital part of your spring or summer menu.
When picking strawberries, look for plump, bright red and fully ripe berries. Caps should be attached, green and fresh-looking. The size of the strawberry is not important. All strawberries, large and small, are equally sweet and juicy. If you can go to your local farmer's market to buy your strawberries (and as much of your produce and fruit as you can), it will improve your recipes and help the local farmer. The fresher the strawberry, the better. When you get back with your fresh strawberries, sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible and use in sauces, purees or jams. Place the berries in cool, well-ventilated containers (32 to 40'F / 0 to 5'C). The moisture content of fresh strawberries is high, so store uncovered or loosely covered. Hull strawberries and rinse gently JUST before serving. Careful storing and handling will help them maintain their maximum flavor, color and texture.
The most common way strawberries come packaged is in a pint basket. As a general rule of thumb, a pint basket of midsize strawberries will hold 2 cups and 2 cups of midsize strawberries should yield 1 cup of puree.
As in all fruits and vegetables, it is important to wash your berries before use. The only problem with washing strawberries is if strawberries absorb too much water, diminishing their flavor. To keep strawberries from absorbing large quantities of water, hull AFTER washing. A salad spinner works well for removing excess water from berries.
I am including 1 dessert recipe and 1 entree recipe (below). I challenge you to use strawberries for more than just dessert. If you wish further recipes, feel free to contact me at missionraleigh.org (website temporarily unavailable).