I feel bad for those who are allergic to strawberries. They will never know the pleasure of biting into a ripe, sun-warmed berry that bursts in your mouth. And think of not being able to enjoy strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, or just a strawberry dipped in chocolate. Not only that, but on a recent Dr.Oz show, he talked about the medical benefits of strawberries. They contain a large amount of antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Strawberries are also an excellent source of fiber and Vitamins C and K, a very good source of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-1, and iodine, and a good source of folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B-6.
Strawberries have been around since ancient times. The Roman senator Cato who lived from 234 B.C. to 149 B.C., loved strawberries soaked in wine. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus cured himself of gout on a strawberry diet in the late 1700’s. European children used to thread them onto straws and sell them in the streets by the straw. Strawberries actually are not even berries at all, and technically not even a fruit, but are members of the rose family. Who cares. They are just incredibly good to eat.
Those who love strawberries do not limit themselves to strawberry shortcake or ice cream, but also know that they are equally wonderful in non-dessert dishes such as salads or with seafood. This cookbook has salad recipes such as a spinach salad with strawberries and oranges; romaine strawberry salad, strawberry-avocado salad, strawberry shrimp salad, and a strawberry chicken salad. There are also great recipes for beverages, light entrees, desserts, pies, cakes, ice cream, and preserves. One of the chapters also talks about selecting and caring for strawberries, how to pick and preserve them properly, how to store them, and how to use commercially frozen berries. There are more than 100 ways to add the beloved strawberry to your meals.
My girls and I used to love to go pick strawberries at a farm in Wisconsin, then rush back home to make my strawberry-vanilla jam. I remember one of the times we went picking was an overcast day. We spent hours happily picking the perfect berries for the jam and other goodies. The next day, my daughter Kristina woke up to the worst sunburn, which will usually fade within days, but hers actually discolored parts of her back for many years before it finally faded. Sadly, that beautiful strawberry farm was razed and turned into a golf course the next year. We still miss it. Consider yourself lucky if you either grow your own strawberries or pick them at a farm. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.