By Sherrie Norris
This is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons. Nature has begun to put on quite a show for us with colorful blooms and blossoms rising up from the ground— and ripe, delectable strawberries are making their way to town. And that’s just for starters.
I’m glad that we have access to the grocery store varieties of berries from places like California and Florida throughout the year, but there’s nothing much better than seeing roadside stands announcing the arrival of those luscious red gems grown closer to home. If you are one of the lucky ones, it’s also fun to head down to the foothills to pick your own.
It seems that they’ve ripened a little earlier than usual this year, but it may just be that I’m running behind. Either way, I’m hearing that there should be plenty of berries for several weeks to come, so hopefully we can enjoy them fresh out of the field, while at the same time putting up some for later in the form of jellies, jams and other specialties.
Just try not to eat them all before you have time to try a few of these recipes.
Layered Strawberry Pretzel “Salad”
2 cups crushed pretzels
¼ cup sugar
½ stick melted butter
Mix above ingredients and press into a 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Cool.
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipped topping
Blend cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar. Spread over pretzel crust and refrigerate.
1 lg. pkg. strawberry Jell-O
2 cups pineapple juice
2 pints strawberries
Dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Add strawberries. When mixture sets, spread over cream cheese filling. Top with extra whipped topping and add extra (sliced/chopped) strawberries, if desired.
Diabetic Strawberry Trifle
1 qt. strawberries
1 sugar- free angel food cake
1 lg. box sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
Whipped topping, light/sugar free, as desired.
Mash berries. Tear cake into 1-inch cubes. Prepare pudding as directed on box. Line bowl with a layer of cake, berries and pudding. Continue layering. Cover with whipped topping.
Spinach Salad With Strawberries and Oranges
1 lb. spinach leaves, washed, with stems removed
Red onions, sliced into thin rings
2 cups whole strawberries
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
Walnuts (candied or plain) coarsely chopped
Grilled chicken strips (optional)
Wash spinach; allow to drain in colander or dab with paper towel to remove moisture. Wash, hull, and drain strawberries. In a large bowl, combine the dry spinach, onions, strawberries, oranges, and walnuts. Top with chicken strips, if desired.
Great with the dressing below or a bottled poppy seed, berry seasoned vinaigrette, or honey mustard dressing.
3 Tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. paprika
½ cup oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
½ tsp. poppy seeds
Beat dressing ingredients together with a fork or mix in a blender. Do not pour dressing over salad until ready to serve.
Strawberry Chiffon Squares
1½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine
¾ cup boiling water
1 pkg. strawberry Jell-O
1 cup Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
3 cups miniature marshmallows
½ pint whipped cream
Combine crumbs and margarine; pat into bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan. In large bowl, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Stir in condensed, lemon juice, strawberries and marshmallows. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.