Strawberry season: Five recipes to capture the freshness of strawberries

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Melissa Wang/Flickr

Get the strawberries while the getting is good! 

The ruby red gems aren’t going to be more ripe than right now in northern Indiana. In fact, the end of May through mid-June is the peak time to get a bushel and start picking or grab a box on your next grocery run, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

National Strawberry Month is actually in May, but there are three food days in June that put the spotlight on strawberries: National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day on June 9, National Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14 and National Strawberry Parfait Day on June 25, according to Food.com. 

Before you get baking, brewing or cooking, there’s a few pro-tips to keep in mind from the University of Illinois before you start picking or purchasing: 

  • Color: Let the berries with a little bit of green or pale red sit and sunbathe a while longer, they’re not ready yet. Only pluck the berries that are fully red, but you might have to look thick into the leaves to find them. 
  • Containers: The container you use for picking strawberries matters. Most patches will give you a specially-designed container for strawberries but if you bring your own, be cautious. Piling the berries more than five inches deep can cause bruising. 
  • Preservation: Make the most of your harvest by tending it once you take it home. Put the strawberries in an uncovered, shallow bowl and wash when you’re ready to use the berries. 

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
From The Adventure Bite.

Pie isn’t just for special occasions. This will make your home smell divine even on the hottest afternoon. 

RELATED: Pie pairs perfectly with the spirit of the holidays, Nov. 17, 2014

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg 
  • 1 lb. rhubarb, cut into half-inch pieces 
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries 
  • 1 tbsp. butter 
  • batch of pie crust, like this one from a previous Flavor 574 story 
  • 1 egg 
  • coarse sugar 

Directions

  1. Combine sugar, tapioca, salt and nutmeg. Add rhubarb and strawberries. Mix to coat the fruit and let it stand for about 20 minutes. 
  2. Turn the fruit into pastry-lined 9-inch pie dish. Dot with butter and add lattice top. Brush top with the egg wash and dust with coarse sugar. 
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbling and crust is golden brown. 
  4. Serve with ice cream. 

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
From Diethood

Strawberry shortcake tastes like childhood and there’s something amazing about combining a buttery crust or biscuit with sweet strawberries and thick whipped cream. These are made from scratch and will be a hit at your next cookout. 

Ingredients

For the biscuits: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tsp. sugar 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 
  • ½ tsp. orange zest
  • 4 oz. cream cheese 
  • ⅓ cup milk 
  • 1 tbsp. milk for brushing tops 

For strawberries: 

  • 1½ lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 
  • ⅓ cup sugar 

For whipped cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream 
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 

Directions

For biscuits: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and orange zest in a large bowl. 
  2. Add cream cheese and mash with fork until mixture is crumbly. 
  3. Stir in a third of a cup of milk and form dough. 
  4. Flour hands and divide the dough into eight balls. Place dough balls three inches apart on greased sheet or baking mat. 
  5. With a glass, flatten the dough balls into half-inch thick discs and brush tops with milk and sprinkle sugar on top. 
  6. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. 

For the strawberries: 

  1. Clean and slice the strawberries. Take a third of them and mash with a potato masher.
  2. Add the rest of the strawberries and pour in sugar. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. 

For the whipped cream: 

  1. Combine all ingredients by whipping together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  2. Once chilled, beat until stiff peaks form. 

To assemble the shortcakes: 

  1. Cut the biscuits in half and place a tablespoon of the strawberry mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit and top with whipped cream. 
  2. Cover with the top half of the biscuit and top with whipped cream and more strawberries. 

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL PARFAIT
From Dessert for Two

Parfaits are versatile. Toss in yogurt, fruit and granola for a healthy breakfast on-the-go, layer whipped cream and fruit for a refreshing dessert and add pretzels for a salty crunch. 

Ingredients

  • 12 strawberries, diced 
  • 2 tsp. granluated sugar 
  • 1 cup pretzel mini twists 
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted 
  • ¾ cup whole milk yogurt or sour cream 
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar 
  • Pinch of cinnamon 

Directions

  1. Place strawberries in shallow dish and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Combine and let sit for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Add pretzels to food processor. Pulse until broken into small pieces. 
  3. Drizzle melted butter and cinnamon over the crushed pretzels and pulse a few more times. 
  4. In a small bowl, add yogurt or sour cream and brown sugar. Whisk together until smooth. 
  5. Into each serving, layer yogurt, strawberries and pretzel mixture. Garnish with extra yogurt and pretzels. 

STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
From Gal on a Mission

Lounging poolside or in the yard with a book in hand, there’s nothing that refreshes quite the way homemade lemonade does. Cut the tartness with a splash of strawberry. 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups chopped strawberries 
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons) 
  • 4 cups cold, filtered water

Directions

  1. Puree strawberries. Remove and strain seeds and pulp if desired. 
  2. In separate pan or bowl, stir boiling water and sugar. Let boiling water cool for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Pour the cooled water into pitcher and add the cold, filtered water. Stir in pureed strawberries and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve over ice. 

STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD WITH BACON
From Julia’s Album

Strawberries are sweet on their own without being mixed into sugar or baked into pie. Give a delicious twist to a savory salad with cheese and bacon. 

Ingredients

For the dressing: 

  • ¼ cup oil 
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar 
  • Salt, to taste

For the salad: 

  • 10 oz. package fresh spinach
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled 
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered and toasted 
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk. Add salt to taste. Let chill while preparing the salad. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except feta cheese and almonds. Add dressing and toss salad. Then add cheese and almonds. 

What are your favorite ways to cook, bake with or eat strawberries? 

 
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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