Its that delightful time of the year when strawberries abound everywhere and are with us for a few months. For an added treat go and pick your own strawberries at a local farm. Strawberries perish quickly so try to eat or use them in recipes within a couple of days. Toss strawberries with cubes of fresh cantaloupe and some blueberries for a quick salad.


Its that delightful time of the year when strawberries abound everywhere and are with us for a few months. For an added treat go and pick your own strawberries at a local farm. Strawberries perish quickly so try to eat or use them in recipes within a couple of days. Toss strawberries with cubes of fresh cantaloupe and some blueberries for a quick salad.



To freeze strawberries for future use place hulled, un-rinsed strawberries on a flat dish or pan in the freezer in a single layer. After they are frozen put berries into airtight containers or plastic bags. Be sure to purchase ripe, firm berries.



Easy way to rinse strawberries is to hull them, place them in a colander, then place colander in a large bowl of cold water, submerging them, then lift out and drain leaving the dirt behind. Gently pat dry with paper towels.



Strawberry measurements:  



1-quart  1 pounds  4 cups sliced strawberries ( inch thick or quartered)



1-pint  pound  2 cups sliced ( inch thick or quartered)



Enjoy!



 



Easy Strawberry Scones



6        tablespoons cold butter, cut into mall pieces



2        cups all-purpose flour



3        tablespoons granulated sugar



1        tablespoon baking powder



Pinch of salt



2        large eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten



(one half) cup heavy cream



1        teaspoon vanilla extract



(one half) cup fresh strawberries, chopped



2        tablespoons heavy cream



2        tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.



In a bowl cut cold butter into small pieces and keep in the refrigerator.



In another bowl whisk together flour, 3-tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter pieces and with 2- knives cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Gently stir in beaten eggs, vanilla, and add (one half) cup heavy cream until mixture forms a soft dough.



Fold chopped strawberries into dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1-inch round pie shape about 8-10 inches round. With a floured knife cut into 8 equal triangle pie pieces for scones. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush with 2-tablespoons heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.



Bake in 400 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes until a golden brown. Serve warm with butter and strawberry jam.



Quick and Easy Small Batch Strawberry-Raspberry Jam



2 (three and one half) pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved



1        pound fresh raspberries, rinsed



2 (two and three fourths) cups granulated sugar



(one half) teaspoon kosher salt



1        tablespoon lemon juice



In a heavy large pot stir together strawberries sugar, alt and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 to 30 minutes. Continue to simmer, stirring to prevent sticking, until thick and slightly darker in color about 1 (one and one half) hours.



Place jam in airtight containers, refrigerate up to a month or freeze up to 6-months.



 



Strawberry and Blueberry Spinach Salad



I won a Third Place on this salad at the 2012 NC Blueberry Festival.



6        cups baby spinach, rinsed and stems removed



1        pint fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced, and divided



2        pints fresh blueberries, divided



       (one half) cup toasted pecans



4        ounces feta cheese, crumbled



Salad Dressing



2/3 (two thirds) cup vinegar



1        cup EVOO, olive oil



(one fourth)           cup granulated sugar



(one half)   cup blueberries, sliced in half



In a clear glass salad bowl toss together spinach, half the strawberry slices, and half the blueberries. On top of salad arrange the other half of strawberries and blueberries then top with toasted pecans.



Salad Dressing: whisk together all ingredients crushing blueberries slightly. Refrigerate.



When ready to serve pour dressing on salad stirring to coat. Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles. Individual servings are better, as everyone can add as much dressing and cheese as desired.



 



Creamy Strawberry Soup



4 Servings



1        8-ounce container of Greek non-fat yogurt



1        teaspoon vanilla extract



2        cups low fat half-and-half



(one half) cup low fat sour cream



2        cups fresh or frozen strawberries



2-3     teaspoons granulated sugar or sugar substitute



In a blender or food processor place yogurt, vanilla, half-and-half, sour cream, strawberries, and sugar. Cover and blend until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve, chill for 6-8 hours.



 



Strawberry Sauce with Grand Marnier



I won a Third Place for this Strawberry Sauce recipe at the 2012 Strawberry Festival.



4        cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into thick slices, reserve 1-cup



(one fourth) cup granulated sugar



(one fourth) cup orange juice



(one half)   cup Grand Marnier liqueur



2        teaspoons orange zest



1        tablespoon corn starch



In a saucepan whisk together sugar, orange juice, Grand Marnier, and corn starch. Cook over medium heat whisking continuously, bring to a boil. Lower heat and add 3 cups strawberries, simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Add the remaining 1-cup of sliced strawberries and fold in. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stir occasionally. Do not crush this last cup of strawberries, the pieces add a nice touch to the sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into re-sealable containers and refrigerate.



Serve over ice cream, cheese cake, pound cake, pancakes, yogurt, or any other treat you would like. This tastes good warm also.



 



Strawberry Lemonade



3        cups water



(one half) to (three fourths) cup granulated sugar



3        6-ounce cans of lemonade concentrate (about 8-10 lemons)



1        pint strawberries, hulled and halved



1        liter ginger ale



Lemon slices, thinly sliced for garnish



In a medium size saucepan boil water and sugar. Boil until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool completely.



Put strawberries into a blender with (one half) cup of sugar mixture. Blend until pureed. Strain puree to remove seeds if you wish. Add puree to remaining lemonade mixture. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate until serving.



To serve: In a tall pitcher pour lemonade. Stir in ginger ale, add ice cubes and garnish with thin lemon slices.



Helpful Hint: Use ice cubes with strawberries frozen inside them for a nice presentation.



 



Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Kahlua



2-3     pints of strawberries, do not hull, rinse and pat dry, chill



1        square dark chocolate or milk chocolate (I prefer the dark.)



1/3 (one third) cup granulated sugar



(one half) cup hot coffee



2        tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1-tablespoon water



4-6     tablespoons Kahlua



In a small saucepan mix together chocolate square, granulated sugar and hot coffee. Stir continuously over medium heat until chocolate melts and sugar dissolves completely. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons Kahlua. Add this mixture to melted chocolate, stir until very thick. Remove from heat and add remaining Kahlua. Mix well. Makes about 1-cup .



To serve, make sure strawberries are dry and hand dip them into the hot chocolate by holding the green leaves. Place on waxed paper on a serving plate.



White Chocolate Treat:



 For an extra added touch, melt some white chocolate in another saucepan and just dip the tip of the chocolate covered strawberry into the hot white chocolate for a very pretty effect. For an added delightful taste put 1-tablespoon Amaretto or Hazelnut liqueur to the melted white chocolate. Delicious! Enjoy.



 



Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.