Fresh, fragrant strawberries are a delicious and healthy treat in themselves. When they are in season you'll be tempted to buy them by the flat and freeze whatever you can't eat. Knowing many different ways to use them will help spread their goodness over three meals during the day, and snack time, too. Strawberries contain many nutrients, including Vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber and phenols, thought to be anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and heart-protective compounds. The French were the first to cultivate the strawberry in 1697, probably from a wild species brought from Quebec.
Jars of strawberry jam can be put away for the winter and used as gifts for Christmas, so go ahead and make plenty of them. For 4 pt. you'll need 3 pt. of halved fresh strawberries. Carve out the white center with a small spoon. Cook 4 cups of sugar and the juice and zest of two large lemons over low heat until the sugar dissolves. After you add the strawberries, cook for about 20 more minutes on low heat until the strawberries have released their juices and the mixture is boiling slightly. Pour in sterilized canning jars and seal. If you aren't going to refrigerate the jars, make sure you understand proper canning procedures.
Strawberry Slushie or Smoothie
Fill your blender 1/3 full of fresh strawberries. Add 3 tbsp. of maple syrup or sugar and enough crushed ice to reach 1 inch from the top of the blender. Blend until the ice turns to slush. You can add other ingredients such as fresh pineapple to give the slushy a more tropical flavor. For a smoothie, fill the blender with unsweetened yogurt instead of ice and blend with the same amount of maple syrup or sugar. Add a frozen banana broken into chunks to add smoothness and chill to the smoothie.
Strawberry Breakfast Bread
This breakfast bread is a delicious way to celebrate strawberry season with family and friends. Mix 3 1/8 cups flour, 2 cups white sugar, 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon and 1 tsp. salt. Add 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil and 4 beaten eggs to 2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and blend only until everything has been moistened. Fold in 1 1/4 cups of chopped pecans. Pour mixture into two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans and bake in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven.
Fresh Strawberry, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad
Strawberries are delicious added to savory dishes, adding their sweetness to brighten the flavors. For a salad for four, whisk together 1 tbsp. of maple syrup, 2 tbsp. of wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 1/4 tsp. of salt and freshly ground pepper in the salad bowl. Add 3 cups of baby spinach, 3 cups of watercress, about 12 oz. of fresh sliced strawberries and coarsely chopped fresh chives. Toss the salad lightly until all ingredients have been coated. Serve on four salad plates and top with 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans.
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How to Freeze Fresh Strawberries With Sugar
As the leader in strawberry production, the U.S. strawberry industry is $1.2 billion a year strong and growing. This sweet berry, which...