No matter what your age or where you live, there is a good chance that you have a vivid memory of perfectly ripe strawberries. Though strawberries are available at almost every time of year these days thanks to good shipping, there really is, nothing quite like a strawberry that is very fresh and perfectly ripe strait out of your own garden.
You do not need a green thumb to grow strawberries, and once you taste freshly picked berries, store bought will never be the same again. Growing your own berries in a pot or in the garden will let you have the best berries for a bowl of fruit and cream, or even just a berry or two cut up in your morning cereal.
The strawberries that we recognize today are originally American, and they are a hybrid of a species from South America that had to be crossbred with a species from North America to help them survive. They were a sign of decadence and health in Europe.
Strangely enough, strawberries were considered poisonous in Argentina until the middle of the 19th century. While those plants varied greatly in shape, size, and flavor, they all bore the well-known red color and heart-shaped fruit that we all adore so much.
While most people think of eating strawberries raw, there are other recipes you can make with them that are exquisitely delicious. A really easy recipe is to cut the berries into small pieces, then place them in a bowl. Cover the cut up berries with water and sprinkle white granulated sugar over the top generously. Add some ice, and let the whole mixture soak in the refrigerator for several hours. When you are ready to eat it, you will find a lovely cold summer dessert.
Strawberries have a nice, firm texture that many people enjoy. However, some may not be overly fond of the sweetness, or maybe they prefer their foods to have a more complex flavor. If this appeals to you, try the following idea the next time you have strawberries. Set out a small bowl of balsamic vinegar and one of powdered sugar. Take your fresh strawberries and dip them first in one and then the other. The contrasting flavors will enhance each other and build upon the distinctive taste of the berry.
Strawberries are not just for dessert. Add some sliced strawberries to a spinach salad to add color and sweetness. A dressing made of honey, mustard, balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar makes a nice accompaniment to the spinach, berries, red onion slices, and caraway seeds. Eat this for a light lunch or serve it as a side salad at a dinner for instant compliments.
Another twist is to take fresh spinach leaves and de-stem them so you only have the tender leaves. Diagonally slice some strawberries, to this add some Gorgonzola cheese and homemade croutons, and then top this with some ranch dressing and fresh ground black pepper. The combination is a wonderful blend of sweet, tart, crunch and is just downright delicious.
Do not relegate strawberries only to shortcake. They have a lot more to offer than the traditional dessert. Strawberries are nutritious and flavorful, and are the ideal berry to serve. There is a reason the strawberry is everyone’s favorite.
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