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We’re sweet on local strawberries now appearing everywhere

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We’re sweet on local strawberries now appearing everywhere

Just recently a friend of mine posted a gorgeous photo of bright green pints brimming with brilliant-coloured local strawberries. My mouth started watering for the delicious, sweet tart taste of Canada’s pride and joy. Strawberries join a list of refreshing summer fruits and vegetables now filling our local grocery stores, supermarkets and farmers’ markets. And they’re so good for you: strawberries are low in calories and an excellent source of vitamin C. They work well in a variety of dishes, be they sweet or savoury – and the perfect base for sangrias, punches, smoothies and ice creams.

Look for your local bounty, and grab a handful of fresh strawberries – they taste like the perfect summer day.
All recipes courtesy of Foodland Ontario (foodlandontario.ca)

Sparkling Strawberry Punch
Pureed strawberries make a delicious base for this refreshing party punch.

4 cups (1 L) sliced strawberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
6 cups (1.5 L) apple juice
1 bottle (750 mL) white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Dry Riesling
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lime or lemon juice
3 cups (750 mL) chilled soda water
Ice cubes
Mint leaves (optional)

In blender or food processor, puree 3 cups (750 mL) of strawberries and sugar. In large container, combine pureed strawberry mixture, apple juice, wine and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to chill and allow flavours to develop. Cover and refrigerate remaining strawberries.

Just before serving, pour chilled mixture into a large punch bowl; add soda water. Place several sliced strawberries and ice cubes in each glass; fill with fruit mixture and garnish with mint, if using. Refrigerate leftover punch.

Strawberry spinach salad with grilled prosciutto

handout /

Foodland Ontario

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Prosciutto
This flavour-packed salad can be served as a first course salad or alongside grilled pork, lamb or beef.

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. (5 mL) Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
4 slices prosciutto
7 cups (1.75 L) torn spinach leaves
2 cups (500 mL) sliced strawberries
1/3 cup (75 mL) thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup (125 mL) shaved asiago cheese
1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped

Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, mustard and 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) each salt and pepper.

Salad: Place prosciutto on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until grill marked prosciutto begins to crisp. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Break into pieces.

In salad bowl, combine spinach, strawberries and onion; toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with prosciutto, Asiago cheese and walnuts.

Serves 4.

Tip: A vegetable peeler works great for shaving the cheese.

Grilled lamb skewers with strawberry maple chive glaze

handout /

Foodland Ontario

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Strawberry Maple Chive Glaze
Strawberries take a twist here in a savoury glaze for the lamb. Soak wooden skewers, if using, for at least 10 minutes.

1 boneless leg of lamb, about 5 lb (2.2 kg)
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh chives
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated fresh lemon rind
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) each fresh lemon juice and maple syrup
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) each coarse sea salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) each salt and pepper
3 cups (750 mL) halved strawberries
1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup
2 tsp. (10 mL) grated fresh lemon rind
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) each fresh lemon juice and balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh chives

Trim fat from lamb; cut into 2-inch (5 cm) cubes. In large bowl, whisk together oil, chives, lemon rind and juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper. Add lamb, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours to marinate.

Glaze: In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, add garlic, shallot, salt and pepper. Cook stirring often for 3 minutes or until softened. Add strawberries, maple syrup, lemon rind and juice. Using potato masher, mash berries to bring out juices. Bring to boil; reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, to combine flavours, about 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook until thickened and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chives. Set aside 3/4 cup (175 mL) of mixture to use as a dipping sauce.

Thread lamb onto skewers. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat. Brush with remaining glaze and grill until medium-rare, about 20 minutes, turning and basting skewers occasionally with glaze. Serve skewers with reserved dipping sauce.

Serves 8.

Strawberries and lime cream

handout /

Foodland Ontario

Strawberries and Lime Cream
What better way to celebrate fresh local juicy strawberries than serving them with this tangy, silken sauce?

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lime juice (3 to 4 limes)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated lime rind
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) drained yogurt* or sour cream
4 cups (1 L) strawberries, washed

In medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, lime juice and rind and eggs. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently to prevent curdling, for 5 to 8 minutes or until thickened and clear. (Sauce will continue to thicken on cooling.) Cool. Recipe can be prepared in advance to this point and covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Or, frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator. To serve, fold in yogurt or sour cream. Use as dip or sauce for strawberries.

Serves 4.

*To drain yogurt, set a fine mesh sieve, lined with paper towel or coffee filter over bowl and spoon yogurt in. You will require approximately 2 cups (500 mL) for 1 cup (250 mL) drained yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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