By Sherrie Norris
A favorite seasonal fruit of many is now available on local produce stands, but will be disappearing quickly due to a limited growing season nearby. Sure, we can find strawberries in the stores year‘round, but never as good as those just picked out of the field an hour or two from the High Country.
Some of us can’t seem to get enough of them; it’s something we anticipate greatly each spring and we are rarely disappointed.
I ran across a bit of related trivia that I thought you might enjoy, along with a few recipes to whet your appetite:
Did you know that strawberries
· were cultivated in ancient Rome?
· were used as a medicinal herb in the 1200s?
· are grown in every U.S. state and Canadian province?
· are a member of the rose family?
· have a museum dedicated to them in Belgium?
· are very high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants?
· have just 55 calories per cup, plus 0 cholesterol and 0 fat?
Easy Strawberry Cheesecake
1½ cups Graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbs. margarine or butter; melted
Stir together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix in butter thoroughly and press into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350; Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300-degree F.
2 ½ blocks cheese cream, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon peel, grated
¼ tsp. vanilla
Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Add lemon peel and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour into shell. Bake 1 hour or until center is firm. Cool to room temperature and then spread with the strawberry glaze.
1 cup strawberries; mashed
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Blend sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Stir in water and strawberries. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Cool thoroughly before spreading over cheesecake. Chill at least 3 hours.
Frozen Strawberry-Cream Cheese Pie
1½ cups crushed pretzels
¼ cup melted butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 1/3 cups orange juice *(see note below for alternates)
1 cup crushed strawberries
Cool Whip topping
Combine pretzels with melted butter; press onto bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Beat cream cheese with ¾ cup sugar in bowl with an electric mixer until smooth Stir in juice and strawberries; whisk in Cool Whip. Pour over crust; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand in refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving
*Substitute your favorite prepared juice, such as raspberry, lemonade, limeade, grape or pink lemonade.
Strawberry and Spinach Salad
This spring salad is loaded with Vitamins A and C. The bright green of the spinach and contrasting red of the strawberries is beautiful and the flavors are very tasty when mixed together.
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 bunches fresh spinach
½ cup sugar
1½ Tbs. minced green onion
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. paprika
½ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Wash strawberries under cool running water. Remove caps and set aside to drain. Wash spinach and remove large tough stems. Tear large leaves into small pieces. Drain. In a medium bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk together. Slice strawberries into halves or quarters and place in a large bowl. Add dry spinach and walnuts Pour dressing over all and toss. Makes 8 servings.
(You can also add mandarin oranges and cranberries, if desired. Great served with grilled chicken.)
Layered Strawberry Delight
1 cup flour
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup chopped nuts
Combine all ingredients. Press into bottom of 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 13 minutes. Cool completely.
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Cool Whip
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust.
1 large pkg. strawberry Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen sweetened strawberries
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Stir in strawberries. Chill for 20 minutes or until thickened. Spread over cheese layer. Chill until set.
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
In a food processor, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon or lime juice and vanilla. Puree, then chill. Delicious served over ice cream or pound cake.