Let’s Celebrate Strawberries!!!

If you love strawberries, then you know that nothing compares to that deep red, fleshy, succulent, mouthwatering, juicy, delicate taste of a  fruit saying “eat me” like a strawberry.  The month of May is said to always be National Strawberry Month, a time when farmers and consumers alike celebrate the peak abundance of America’s favorite fruit.

Strawberries photogenic color, shape, easy preparation and adaptability,  makes them among one of the most talked about fruits on culinary websites, blogs, Pinterest and other social media, including  mine Tasty Goodness. It’s said that conversations on Twitter mention strawberries, along with its most popular companions, chocolate  and cream, has garnered more than 2 million mentions.  According to the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture, Americans now consume twice as many strawberries than two decades ago… wow!

Some Strawberry Facts:

  • Strawberries were originally called “Strewberries” due to the way the berries seem to be just strewn about the leaves of the plant.
  • Eight strawberries provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.
  • They are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
  • One cup of strawberries has just 55 calories.
  • They are only fruit with the seeds (on average, 200) on the outside of the fruit.
  • They are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.
  • Strawberries are the most cultivated berry in the country and are grown in every state.
  • Strawberries are picked and loaded onto the refrigerated trucks within 24 hours.
  • Because strawberries are highly perishable, their consumable life varies from 5 to 7 days from the moment they were picked.

However, almost all commercially produced strawberries come from the northern hemisphere. The largest strawberry producing country is the United States, growing 20-25% of the world’s annual production; Spain is the world’s second largest producer, with about 6-7%.

Spain is also the world’s largest exporter of fresh strawberries (Poland is the world’s largest exporter of frozen strawberries).

California dominates U.S. strawberry production. The state’s annual harvest consistently approaches nine-tenths of all U.S. strawberries. Most strawberry farming is in the southwestern counties of the state (particularly along the coast), where full sun and a mild climate predominate.

Florida is the second largest producer of strawberries in the United States at 8-9% annually. Plant City is the epicenter of strawberry farming for the state. Most of the strawberries sold in U.S. groceries during the winter (especially in the months of December and January) come from Florida.

Together, California and Florida account for well over 95% of all strawberries grown in the U.S.A. This is largely due to the fact that the mild winter climates of these states allow farmers to utilize hill cultivation on their strawberry farms.

In contrast, other states rely heavily on matted row cultivation of strawberries, a form of strawberry farming that cannot offer comparable yields to hill cultivation. For more information on hill and matted row strawberry cultivation, go to the “How Are Strawberries Grown” page on this site.

– See more at: http://www.strawberries-for-strawberry-lovers.com/where-are-strawberries-grown.html#sthash.XwSXW4GI.dpuf

In the U.S., strawberries are grown in family gardens in all 50 states. There are very few places on Earth in which no strawberry species will grow.

However, almost all commercially produced strawberries come from the northern hemisphere. The largest strawberry producing country is the United States, growing 20-25% of the world’s annual production; Spain is the world’s second largest producer, with about 6-7%.

Spain is also the world’s largest exporter of fresh strawberries (Poland is the world’s largest exporter of frozen strawberries).

California dominates U.S. strawberry production. The state’s annual harvest consistently approaches nine-tenths of all U.S. strawberries. Most strawberry farming is in the southwestern counties of the state (particularly along the coast), where full sun and a mild climate predominate.

Florida is the second largest producer of strawberries in the United States at 8-9% annually. Plant City is the epicenter of strawberry farming for the state. Most of the strawberries sold in U.S. groceries during the winter (especially in the months of December and January) come from Florida.

Together, California and Florida account for well over 95% of all strawberries grown in the U.S.A. This is largely due to the fact that the mild winter climates of these states allow farmers to utilize hill cultivation on their strawberry farms.

In contrast, other states rely heavily on matted row cultivation of strawberries, a form of strawberry farming that cannot offer comparable yields to hill cultivation. For more information on hill and matted row strawberry cultivation, go to the “How Are Strawberries Grown” page on this site.

– See more at: http://www.strawberries-for-strawberry-lovers.com/where-are-strawberries-grown.html#sthash.XwSXW4GI.dpuf

In the U.S., strawberries are grown in family gardens in all 50 states. There are very few places on Earth in which no strawberry species will grow.

However, almost all commercially produced strawberries come from the northern hemisphere. The largest strawberry producing country is the United States, growing 20-25% of the world’s annual production; Spain is the world’s second largest producer, with about 6-7%.

Spain is also the world’s largest exporter of fresh strawberries (Poland is the world’s largest exporter of frozen strawberries).

California dominates U.S. strawberry production. The state’s annual harvest consistently approaches nine-tenths of all U.S. strawberries. Most strawberry farming is in the southwestern counties of the state (particularly along the coast), where full sun and a mild climate predominate.

Florida is the second largest producer of strawberries in the United States at 8-9% annually. Plant City is the epicenter of strawberry farming for the state. Most of the strawberries sold in U.S. groceries during the winter (especially in the months of December and January) come from Florida.

Together, California and Florida account for well over 95% of all strawberries grown in the U.S.A. This is largely due to the fact that the mild winter climates of these states allow farmers to utilize hill cultivation on their strawberry farms.

In contrast, other states rely heavily on matted row cultivation of strawberries, a form of strawberry farming that cannot offer comparable yields to hill cultivation. For more information on hill and matted row strawberry cultivation, go to the “How Are Strawberries Grown” page on this site.

– See more at: http://www.strawberries-for-strawberry-lovers.com/where-are-strawberries-grown.html#sthash.XwSXW4GI.dpuf

In the U.S., strawberries are grown in family gardens in all 50 states. There are very few places on Earth in which no strawberry species will grow.

However, almost all commercially produced strawberries come from the northern hemisphere. The largest strawberry producing country is the United States, growing 20-25% of the world’s annual production; Spain is the world’s second largest producer, with about 6-7%.

Spain is also the world’s largest exporter of fresh strawberries (Poland is the world’s largest exporter of frozen strawberries).

California dominates U.S. strawberry production. The state’s annual harvest consistently approaches nine-tenths of all U.S. strawberries. Most strawberry farming is in the southwestern counties of the state (particularly along the coast), where full sun and a mild climate predominate.

Florida is the second largest producer of strawberries in the United States at 8-9% annually. Plant City is the epicenter of strawberry farming for the state. Most of the strawberries sold in U.S. groceries during the winter (especially in the months of December and January) come from Florida.

Together, California and Florida account for well over 95% of all strawberries grown in the U.S.A. This is largely due to the fact that the mild winter climates of these states allow farmers to utilize hill cultivation on their strawberry farms.

In contrast, other states rely heavily on matted row cultivation of strawberries, a form of strawberry farming that cannot offer comparable yields to hill cultivation. For more information on hill and matted row strawberry cultivation, go to the “How Are Strawberries Grown” page on this site.

– See more at: http://www.strawberries-for-strawberry-lovers.com/where-are-strawberries-grown.html#sthash.XwSXW4GI.dpuf

California by a large margin grows the most strawberries, four times the amount of Floria, which comes in second. Nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California. The strawberry growing season runs from January through November, with the peak season being April to mid August.  But, new farming methods extends the season until mid December, making fresh, delicious and tasty strawberries available all year long.

Choosing the best strawberries

  • Choose brightly colored, dry, firm, shiny, plump berries that still have fresh-looking green caps attached.
  • Avoid soft, dull looking, or shriveled berries.
  • Since strawberries do not ripen after being picked, avoid berries that are partly white or otherwise unripe.
  • It may seem obvious to say, but strawberries should smell like strawberries. Take a whiff before you buy.

Caring for strawberries after purchase

  • Do not wash until you are ready to use them.
  • Do not hull (the green stem on top of the fruit ) until you are ready to use them.
  • Store (preferably in a single layer on a paper towel) in a moisture proof container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • Wash strawberries by placing them in a large colander and rinse gently with cool water, then lay them in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel or layer of paper towels and pat dry.

Strawberry Festivals   have been a part of spring and summer celebrations marking the transition from the cold and dreary wintertime to a time of renewal, life, and color.  Strawberries are the first crop ready for harvest in most temperate regions.  When they are ready to be picked, it is a signal that scarcity is about to give way to abundance.  And, that is cause to celebrate!

There are scores of strawberry festivals, through out the country and are held in either the month of May or June (although some are held both earlier and later).  Each festival is different and offers unique traditions and character. Check to see if there is a strawberry festival in your state.

Recipes

The versatile strawberry stretches beyond shortcake, inspiring unexpected savory and sweet dishes and serves as a key ingredient in endlessly creative recipes.  Here are three strawberry-filled recipes I know you will want to try.

Balsamic Strawberry and Chicken Pizza with Sweet Onions and Smoked Bacon

How about something a little different in the form of strawberry recipes.  How about a savory flavor… a strawberry pizza! This Balsamic Strawberry and Chicken Pizza with Sweet Onions and Smoked Bacon dish is very alluring with its beautiful combination of flavor and balance of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy elements.

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion and Smoked Bacon ~ Closet Cooking

Servings: makes 1 large pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves/jam
  • sriracha to taste
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 4 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, torn
Directions
  1. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small sauce pan, reduce the heat and simmer until it reduces by half, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the strawberry preserves and sriracha to taste.
  3. Mix 2 tablespoons of the balsamic strawberry sauce into the chicken.
  4. Roll out the pizza dough and spread the remaining balsamic strawberry sauce onto it.
  5. Sprinkle on 3/4’s of the cheese, the chicken, bacon and onion followed by the remaining cheese and finally 1/2 cup the strawberries.
  6. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown on top, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining strawberries and the cilantro onto the pizza.

Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon

Wow, take a look at this delicious grilled salmon dish with an incredible savory strawberry sauce, and just in time for Mother’s Day.

Click to visit the original post

Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon ~ Karista’s Kitchen

Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb fresh organic strawberries (watch for local organic strawberries at your Farmer’s Markets)

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil or butter

¼ – ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

¼ – 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle chili powder or 1/2 teaspoon Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste

¼ cup white wine (can substitute with water and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or lemon)

1-2 tablespoons strawberry preserves (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Serve over grilled salmon or try it over grilled or roasted pork tenderloin.

Directions

Slice the strawberries.  Transfer the strawberries to a sauce pan, add the oil or butter and heat on medium heat.

Stir in the fresh grated ginger, chipotle chili powder or chili paste, white wine and preserves.  Bring the sauce to a lively simmer and let the sauce simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

Take it off the heat and let it sit while you grill the fish or roast the pork.  The longer it sits the more the flavors will develop.  It can be served room temp over hot off the grill fish or hot out of the oven pork.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Kale and Strawberry Smoothie

Add Kale to your fresh strawberries and take your smoothie to the next level. You not only boost your immune system, but this homemade shake provide you with a delicious and nutrient-dense energy lift.

kale smoothie 3 Kale Smoothie Recipe With Strawberries
Kale and Strawberry Smoothie ~ Built Lean

Ingredients

  • 1 tightly packed cup of kale, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup of non-fat or low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • up to 1 cup of ice

Directions

1. Place the kale, strawberries and yogurt into your blender.

(If you use fresh strawberries, and are looking for a slushy consistency, you’ll want to add up to 1 cup of ice; if you use frozen strawberries, you may want to add less ice, if any at all).

2. On full strength, blend the ingredients together until the kale looks like it is finely incorporated into the smoothie

3. Enjoy your vitamin- and mineral-packed smoothie.

Quick Tip: Have some extra fresh kale leftover and worried that you wont use it up before it spoils? Just blend the leftover greens with a little water, pour into an ice cube tray, and freeze! Now you have nutritious kale cubes to quickly pop in the blender for your next smoothie, defrost to make a nourishing juice, or add a boost to your favorite soup.

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