May Is National Strawberry Month

  • by Cindy Sanchez

    If you love strawberries, then you know that nothing compares in texture or flavor to a red, ripe succulent strawberry!

    Some Strawberry Fact:

    * Strawberries were originally called "Strewberries". They were called this due to the way the berries seem to be just strewn about the leaves of the plant.

    * Eight strawberries provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

    * Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.

    * One cup of strawberries has just 55 calories.

    * The strawberry is the only fruit with the seeds (on average, 200) on the outside of the fruit.

    * Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.


    Strawberry Blossoms

    12 large, fresh strawberries, rinsed
    1 - 3 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
    2 tbsp powdered sugar
    1 tbsp sour cream

    Remove stems from strawberries to form a flat base. Place berries on cutting surface, pointed end facing up. With a sharp knife, carefully slice each berry in half vertically to within a 1/4 inch of base. Cut each half into three wedges to form 6 petals. (Don't slice through the base.) Pull petals apart slightly.

    In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and sour cream; beat until light and fluffy. With a pastry bag and star tip or small spoon, fill strawberries with
    cream cheese mixture.

    Note: A zipper sandwich bag can be used instead of a pastry bag by filling with cream cheese mixture and squeezing out excess air before sealing. Carefully cut one corner off of the bottom of the bag.

    Variation: Use strawberry flavored cream cheese for added sweetness.


    Strawberry Leather

    3 cups fresh strawberries *
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

    Place strawberries in a blender and process until smooth. Measure 2 cups of strawberry puree. Stir in lemon juice and corn syrup. Line a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan with heavy-duty plastic wrap and tape plastic wrap to the pan at the corners. Pour strawberry mixture in prepared pan and spread thin, leaving 1 inch on all sides. You can adjust this to fit your dehydrator or another pan, be sure it is spread thin on the pan. Dry in an oven at 150 or a dehydrator for 7-8 hours or until surface is no longer sticky. Remove leather from
    pan while still warm and roll up jellyroll fashion. Cut into logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Make five 2 inch logs

    * Any other fruit may be used in place of the strawberries.

    Recipe courtesy of Tawra Kellam of Not Just Beans


    Layered Strawberry Cake

    1 cup half & half
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    4 eggs
    1 3/4 cups flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    dash salt
    2-8 oz pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1 pint whipping cream
    red food coloring (if desired)
    1 pint of fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced

    Heat half & half in a saucepan until boiling, add butter and set aside. In a bowl blend sugar, vanilla and eggs, beat at high speed until mixture is very light and fluffy. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt, add egg mixture, then add half & half
    mixture, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into a well greased and floured springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Let cool
    completely then cut cake into three even layers. Brush away any loose crumbs. Whip the cream cheese until very smooth, beat in the powdered sugar and whipping cream, until mixture is creamy and fluffy. You may add a few drops of food coloring if desired to tint frosting. Spread frosting between each layer, place sliced strawberries on each layer. Then spread remaining frosting on top and sides of assembled cake. Garnish with strawberries on top and on sides.


    Strawberries 'n' Cream Pizza

    1-1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup butter or margarine, cold and sliced
    1 cup chopped pecans
    3 chocolate toffee candy bars
    1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 qt. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
    Frozen whipped cream topping, thawed

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, butter, and nuts; mix until blended. Press mixture on bottom of 12-inch pizza pan. Bake 10 minutes. Immediately sprinkle hot crust with toffee, distributing evenly over crust. Set aside to cool. Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; beat until blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust to within 1/2-inch of crust edge. Arrange strawberries, cut-side down, in circular rows over cheese mixture. Decorate top of pizza with whipped cream. Sprinkle with crushed pecans if desired. Makes 8-12 servings.


    Strawberry Squares

    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup crushed pecans or walnuts
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
    1 1/2 cups whipping cream
    2 cups sliced, hulled fresh strawberries
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    For crust, in a bowl combine flour, nuts and brown sugar. Add melted butter. Toss to combine. Spread in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Spread 2/3 of the crust mixture in a 13x9x2 pan. Set aside.

    In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Beat mixture well. In another bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the strawberry mixture.
    Transfer to prepared pan. Top with remaining crust mixture. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

    Makes 9-12 servings.
    Garnish with additional berries if you wish.


    Strawberry Salad

    4 cups torn salad greens
    1 cup watercress
    1 cup sliced, hulled strawberries
    1/2 half of a small red onion, thinly sliced
    Poppy seed Dressing (homemade or bought)
    Edible flowers such as nasturtiums or chive blossoms

    In a salad bowl, place greens, watercress, strawberries onion. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with edible flowers. Chive blossoms and nasturtiums are peppery in taste. If they are not available to you, fresh mint can be used for garnish.

    Caution: Be sure that all herbs and blossoms are free of pesticides.


    Strawberry Salsa

    2 tablespoons oil
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint leaves
    2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
    1/4 cup diced pineapple
    1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

    Combine oil, lime juice, vinegar, mint, cilantro, jalapeno, pepper and salt in medium bowl. Toss in strawberries, pineapple and onion. Serve over grilled chicken or pork.

    Makes 2 1/2 cups.


    Strawberry Muffins

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
    1 cup skim milk, *see note
    1/3 cup margarine, melted
    1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1 egg white, lightly beaten
    vegetable cooking spray
    1 1/2 tbsp sugar

    *note: add 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to the milk, let sit for 5 minutes. Or substitute nonfat buttermilk.

    Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir well. Add fresh strawberries; stir well, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and next 4 ingredients; stir well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

    Divide batter evenly among 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 1-1/2 tbsp sugar evenly over muffins. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately; let cool on a wire rack.

    18 servings.