Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Fresh Strawberries Arriving Daily in the High Country

Published Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 9:48 am

By Sherrie Norris

Apparently, I share an opinion with William Butler, a 17th-century writer, who once wrote this about my favorite fruit: “Doubtless, God could have made a better berry, but doubtless, God never did.” If there is any doubt, he was referring to the strawberry.

And while it might seem a bit early, fresh strawberries are arriving almost daily in Boone, and I’m so glad for it. I first noticed them at

Veggies, Fruits and More on King Street in Boone, but that’s probably because that’s about as far as I’ve ventured out recently. The Shores and some of the other local produce stands likely have them, as well, and I know several of my friends have already been making Jams, shortcakes, pies and other treats using the delicious berries.

Whether they travel from sunny Florida, California or from closer home in East Tennessee or the North Carolina piedmont, reports are that strawberries seem to be in abundant supply once again this year.

Not only are strawberries delicious, but they also have many benefits which include providing Vitamin C, folate and potassium, pectin and other soluble fibers that help lower cholesterol, and they contain only about 40 calories per cup. Additionally, they are thought to provide substances that help prevent cancer.

Strawberries grow wild or are raised commercially in almost every country, with more than 70 varieties grown in the U.S. alone. California provides about 75 percent of the nation’s fresh crop, for a total of about one billion pounds of strawberries per year.

Florida is second in production with about 65 growers and more than 10,000 acres dedicated to growing strawberries. The Florida season runs from December to May and peaks during March and April.

It is estimated that over 94% of all households consume strawberries, and according to USDA statistics, annual per capita consumption is 4.85 pounds of fresh and frozen strawberries .

According to legend, strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac of the highest quality. Newlyweds were traditionally served a soup of thinned cream, strawberries and powdered sugar; during Medieval times, strawberries were served at important state occasions and festivals to ensure peace and prosperity.

Any excuse to eat strawberries works for me! Listed below are a few good reasons for you to try the juicy, succulent fruit that brings joy to many this time every year. Hopefully, it will be a great help in this time of uncertainty for all of us.

 

Simple Strawberry Cake

3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1/2 cup water

1 white cake mix

1 cup cooking oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup juice from frozen or fresh strawberries

Line three 9-inch cake pans with wax paper. Preheat oven to 350. Soften Jell-O in 1/2 cup water. Combine cake mix, oil, eggs and strawberry juice; mix well. Add Jell-O. Blend thoroughly with electric mixer for about four minutes. Bake 30 minutes. Delicious topped with cool whip and fresh strawberries or cream cheese icing.

 

Very Berry Smoothie

Combine equal amounts of strawberries, bananas, orange juice and ice cubes in blender container. Blend until smooth; pour into glasses and garnish with fresh whole strawberries.

 

Healthy Strawberry Mousse

2 cups sliced strawberries

3 Tbs. sugar (or Splenda)

½ cup low-fat sour cream

1½ cups fat-free Cool Whip

Mix berries and sugar/Splenda in bowl with blender until smooth; add sour cream, fold in cool whip and mix lightly. Spoon into 6 dessert cups and freeze at least four hours.

 

Berries In A Cloud

2 pints fresh strawberries

1 large container Cool Whip

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 angel food cake

1 pkg. strawberry gel.

Mix Cool Whip and cream cheese. Fold in washed, drained and sliced berries. Fold in gel. Pinch off pieces of cake and mix. Refrigerate until time to serve.

 

Easy Strawberry–Orange Salad

2 (3-oz.) pkgs. strawberry-flavored Jell-O

2 cups boiling water

1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen lightly sweetened strawberries, thawed and drained, reserve juice

1/3 cup orange juice

1 (11-oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained

1/3 cup sour cream

Pour Jell-O into large bowl; add boiling water and stir until dissolved.

Combine reserved strawberry juice and orange juice in small bowl; stir into gelatin. Reserve 1 Tbs. mixture; set aside.

Cover gelatin mixture; refrigerate until slightly thickened (1 to 2 hours). Gently stir in strawberries and orange segments. Pour into gelatin mold, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until set (3 to 4 hours).

Meanwhile, combine sour cream and reserved 1 Tbs. strawberry gelatin mixture in small bowl until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate until serving time. Serve as topping.

 

Strawberry Delight

Crust:

1 cup flour

½ cup butter or margarine

½ cup chopped nuts

Combine all ingredients for crust. Press into bottom of 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes. Cool completely.

 

Filling:

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.

Topping:

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.

 

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler

3 cups fresh strawberries diced

½ cup sugar, maybe a little more

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 stick butter melted

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium bowl, add strawberries and ½ cup sugar.

Stir to coat strawberries in sugar and set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Add milk, vanilla extract and melted butter. Stir until combined. Might have a few little lumps. Grease a 9 x 13-in baking dish. Pour batter evenly into dish. Spoon strawberries evenly on top of batter. Do not stir.

Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

 

 

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