Summer is here and fresh produce is on its way. This week look for: Strawberries.
What are they • Everybody's favorite early summer berries contain all sorts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can boost the immune system and help fight ailments including heart disease and cancer. They also are low fat, with only about 45 calories for seven strawberries.
How to use • Before using, rinse with cold water and blot with a paper towel. Serve sliced or whole in salads, baked goods, appetizers, or desserts.
Look for • Bright red berries with fresh green caps. Size does not always determine how sweet or juicy the berry will be. Look at local farmers markets this month to find strawberries with the most flavor. If possible, buy locally grown or organic varieties, as commercial strawberries tend to have one of the highest levels of pesticide residue.
Storage • If not consumed immediately, wrap the berries in plastic without washing for one to two days. Handle gently to avoid bruising. Sort out the bruised berries and use for sauces, purees, or jams.
Spring strawberry pie
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 cups small strawberries
3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts or almonds, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
To prepare the filling, combine strawberry slices and vinegar in a medium nonstick skillet. Place berry mixture over medium-high heat; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Cool completely. Arrange whole strawberries, stem sides down, in crust. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over whole strawberries. Cover loosely, and chill 4 hours.
To prepare the topping, combine cracker crumbs, nuts sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl. Place crumb mixture in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown; cool. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Top each serving with whipped topping.
Servings • 8 servings
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, May 2001 edition