Hello my Foodie Friends!
Did you know that May 21 is National Strawberries and Cream Day? We get to celebrate having fresh strawberries and whipped cream. This is one of my favorite desserts and snacks. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium. There are so many ways to use strawberries; you can eat them for breakfast and add granola for some texture, drizzle chocolate on them, or make strawberry cream pie or shortcake! Growing up, I lived by a farm that grew strawberries. The last weeks of May would bring the start to some beautifully ripe and delicious strawberries. My mother would load up the five of us with buckets and send us on a journey into the blooming fields. We loved being out in the fields with the warm sunshine and the bright red and green fruits. My two sisters were diligent in looking for the biggest, reddest strawberries. However, my brothers and I preferred to create a “bug competition” looking for the most bugs and different bugs we could find. The other issue was when we did pick the strawberries, it was difficult not to take a bite out of them. My mother would often find our buckets filled with little bites taken from several of the strawberries. I have to admit the best part of the day was eating the strawberries. Getting children involved with gardening and harvesting fruits is a great way to create memories. Being involved with creating a garden or visiting one is a wonderful way to encourage eating fresh garden harvests. Although my mother and grandmother did not have strawberry fields, they did have beautiful vegetable gardens. One of my favorite memories is when my mother would ask us to gather rocks for her garden. Picking out the largest and coolest rock kept us three, highly energized boys busy for hours. Another favorite memory was plucking the fruits of my mother and grandmothers gardens. Snacking on the garden vegetables was another challenge for us to avoid. We would play hide and seek in the garden while nibbling on some of the garden treasures. My brothers and I would try to hide and flatten our bodies close to the ground as soon as we heard either my mother or grandmother asking us what we were up to.
At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we carry tools to help you with your strawberry creations. One item is the strawberry huller. A strawberry huller is a small kitchen tool used to remove leaves and the hull from the top of a strawberry. Lots of dishes call for it. The huller, which resembles a mini set of tongs with tips or you can get the one with teethlike edges, allows you to push the tips into the top of a strawberry (around the stem), grip, twist, pull, and you’re done. The advantage to using a huller is that you lose much less fruit than if you just cut the ends off of your berries. Yes, you could use a knife. However, the huller is much safer. Another item to have is a paring knife to help you slice up your strawberries.
This spring, step into the strawberry fields with friends and family or stop by the farmers’ market to pick up some strawberries. While you are creating your favorite strawberry dish, maybe even put on the Beatles and listen to “Strawberry Fields Forever” (oh! I am showing my age). Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula