Sweet Strawberry Season

Strawberries are actually a member of the rose family and have grown in both America and Europe for centuries. Strawberries are likely the sturdiest of berries as far as storage goes.  Fresh strawberries can be incorporated in both sweet and savory dishes. They can also be enjoyed with a simple whipped cream or mascarpone cheese spread as well.  If your berries aren’t quite as sweet as you’d like them to be, half them and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top and let rest for about 15 minutes. The sugar will draw out the moisture from the berries and leave you with a sweet, strawberry syrup. Then, serve the berries and syrup with pancakes or waffles if you like.

Strawberries are a healthful addition to your diet. The sweet little berries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, antioxidants and more. One cup of strawberries provides more vitamin C than an orange – and leaves less of a juicy mess down your forearm than an orange does, too. Fresh, locally grown strawberries are at their nutritional best. After strawberries are stored for just two days, they begin to lose their levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. They’re safe to eat well after two days, but you’ll be getting less of the berries’ nutrients.

Read more recipes like these in City Social magazine and at www.citysocial.com.

Strawberry Jam
4 half pint jars
1 quart strawberry puree (4-5 pints whole berries)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 box pectin
3 cups sugar

Sterilize jars in a canner or heavy stock pot filled with boiling water. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Do not drain. Heat pureed berries, lemon juice and vanilla in a heavy Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in pectin and heat until the mixture reaches a rolling boil. Stir in the sugar until melted. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam that may have formed on the top of the strawberry mixture. Pour into dry, hot jars and seal lids fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water in a canner or stock pot.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
1 cup strawberry puree (4 cups whole berries)
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3, 8-ouce packages cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Puree strawberries in a food processor. Strain away almost all the liquid with a sieve or cheese cloth. In a large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in strawberry puree on low speed. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar adding one cup at a time until icing is a thick, spreadable consistency. Spread on any cooled cake or cupcake and serve. Store iced cakes and any leftover icing in the refrigerator.

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