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Cheap and Good: Buying Local in Season – Strawberries!

Strawberries. Until Clarence Birdseye popularized frozen foods, strawberries meant ‘fresh in the spring and early summer or on your toast and waffles as jam and preserves the rest of the year. Now, you can get frozen strawberries anytime, and at Chez Siberia, we do our part to pick and freeze a whole lot. But we also take the opportunity to eat them as soon as we can get them home, rinsed and into a bowl.

Good, fresh, sweet-all-by-themselves strawberries are not only a treat, but nutritionally fantastic – 8 medium sized strawberries has 140% of the Vitamin C that an adult needs on a daily basis (and I’m assuming that is a strawberry that is the size of a thumb, not one of those monsters you sometimes see). The berries are also high in folic acid, potassium and fiber. On the other hand, you can get strawberries at other times of the year, but there is a whole lot of freight and transport in those berries, which are being trucked from California, Texas and Florida. I tend to like my berries when they are in season in my neighborhood. One sure fire way to save money and get a better product (that is, with fruits and veggies, product that is fresher, newly harvested, and therefore bursting with energy, vitamins and minerals) is to buy local when things have come into season. Lots of supply.

Strawberries are fully ripening in local farmer’s fields right now; the DH and Elder Daughter went out today and picked pounds and pounds (and pounds) of strawberries. ED is turning this batch into fruit leather; the DH is turning some of ours into strawberry wine (a very nice, light, not too sweet summer wine) and we’ll freeze the rest.

But, as you can see from the photograph above, I sneaked some of them away to go with tonight’s dinner. I baked sweetened biscuits for the ‘short cakes’, sliced up the berries and just covered the split cakes with cut berries, a bit of stiffly beaten up sweetened heavy cream and added…what else..more berries. Total yumminess. I caught our son licking the plate when he was done. To make sweetened biscuits – just add 1/4 sugar to your usual biscuit recipe. If you want to dress them up even more, add 1 tsp. of vanilla and an egg. It makes the biscuits more ‘cakey’ but you can’t beat them in terms of not needing extra sugar on the berries.

What else can you do with strawberries besides just eating them fresh?
Cold Strawberry Soup – sort of a dessert soup. Strawberry Soup

Strawberry Chicken –Chicken with strawberries

Strawberry streusel muffins – strawberry muffins

Spinach, strawberry and pecan salad (and this works since spinach is just coming into its own in our garden right now!) salad

And of course, we can’t forget standards like strawberry smoothies, strawberry rhubarb pie, jam and all the rest: All the standards

Every local area has a variety of strawberry that grows best there; here in Upstate New York it is “Sparkle”. I fully intend to eat my fill over the next couple of weeks and perhaps even attend our local strawberry festival. I’m hearing mumbles from the DH that he intends to put in a whole bed of strawberry plants next year! Now THAT’s going to be an adventure as we have never grown those before.

Next fruit up? Well, around here, early in July, it will be sweet and pie cherries..woohoo!!

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