Sweet Summertime

Sweet Summertime Strawberries...America's Favorite Berry

Images and recipes provided by
Florida Strawberry Growers’ Association

Summertime is here and with it comes fun days out, boat trips and family picnics with beautiful heaps of fruits and veggies. Usually located at the center of the crowd is sweet, luscious strawberries. With u-pick strawberry season coming to a close and everyone’s kitchen counters laden with berries, we reached out to the Florida Strawberry Growers' Association (FSGA) for some top-notch strawberry recipes for you to enjoy.

Summertime isn’t the only time to tackle these recipes. With a grocery store around nearly every corner we have the pleasure of enjoying strawberries year round, many of which are grown in the winter strawberry capital of the world—Plant City, Fla.

The Plant City-Dover area is a mecca for the sweetest, most luscious strawberries around. Moreover, strawberries remain the commodity that made this community a family. In 1982, the Florida Strawberry Growers' Association was officially formed, becoming a voice for Florida strawberry growers. In the years since, growers have succeeded in forming a voluntary organization that supports over 11,000 acres of berries, producing over 200 million flats and 15 percent of the nation’s strawberries during the winter.

Their website, www.flastrawberry.com, offers hundreds of delicious recipes. Check out their blog, Strawberry Sue”, compiled by Sue Hassell and her great information on strawberries. Happy eating!

Florida Strawberry-Yogurt Freezer Pops

¼ cup Sugar               
1 Lemon, juiced
2 cups Low-fat vanilla yogurt        
10 Freezer pop molds and sticks
1 lb. Florida strawberries, hulled and chopped

In blender or food processor add half of the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Purée ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into a small pitcher or container and add the rest of the chopped strawberries.
Fill each freezer pop mold by alternating layers of strawberry mixture and yogurt. Insert handle or stick into each freezer pop and freeze at least 5 hours. To serve, run warm water over outside of molds until pops come out easily.
If you don’t have freezer pop molds, use small paper cups. Cover tops of cups with plastic wrap and poke the sticks through the plastic to keep them standing upright while in the freezer.

Florida Strawberry Caipirinha

½ Lime sliced               
1 cup Ice
¼ cup Cachaça (or white rum)       
2½ tsps Superfine sugar
½ cup sliced Fresh Florida strawberries

In an old fashioned glass, muddle sliced strawberries and lime with sugar until juices are released, leaving some pieces of fruit intact.
Add cachaça and stir to combine. Fill glass with ice, stirring to chill. Garnish with more strawberry and lime slices and enjoy!
Notes: Since there is no mixer in this cocktail, using a high quality cachaça is  important to ensure a delicious and smooth cocktail. If you choose to use white rum instead of cachaça be sure to add a little more sugar to taste since rum isn’t as sweet at cachaça. Puerto Rican rums are normally a better substitute for cachaça since they are both made with a sugarcane base. If you’d like an alcohol-free version of this cocktail, switch the cachaça out with a citrus soda like 7-UP or Sprite and skip the sugar.

Savory Balsamic Roasted Strawberry
& Basil Grilled Cheese

8 Fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced        
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey                    
Freshly ground black pepper
4 - 6 slices Hearty white bread, sliced thick  
1 – 2 Tbsps Butter, divided
1 wedge Triple crème brie (about 5 – 8 oz.)    Fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 375°. Toss the sliced strawberries in a bowl. Whisk the balsamic vinegar and honey together. Toss the strawberries with the balsamic mix to coat. Arrange on a baking dish in an even layer and sprinkle with freshly ground salt. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat your skillet to medium heat. Meanwhile, butter one side of each slice of bread. Arrange the strawberries, brie and basil on half of the bread. Season with a bit of black pepper. Top with the remaining slices. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in pan and toast each sandwich on both sides until golden and cheese is getting all gooey and perfect.
To serve, brush with any remaining balsamic mixture on the roasting pan if desired.
-Recipe courtesy of food blogger Kita Roberts of Pass the Sushi.


Florida Strawberry Ice Cream

1¾ cups Heavy cream        
1 Vanilla bean        
½ Lemon zest
⅛ tsp Salt            
2 large Eggs        
¾ cup Sugar
1 lb. Florida strawberries trimmed and quartered (if frozen, let thaw)

In a sauce pan, combine cream, vanilla bean, zest and salt. Heat just to a boil and remove from heat, pour cream mixture through a strainer to remove lemon zest. Use a spoon to scrape the inside of the vanilla bean out. Add this to the cream.
In a large, chilled bowl, whisk together eggs with ½ cup sugar. Slowly add hot cream making sure to not cook the eggs and whisking the egg mixture as you pour. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat in a double-boiler, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and a thermometer registers 170°F.
Once it reaches 170°F, remove from heat and pour into a chilled bowl. Let it rest until it cools to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Place into your refrigerator for 2 hours to chill. Meanwhile, coat the strawberries with sugar and allow them to macerate. After two hours, purée strawberries and sugar until smooth.  If you wish to remove the seeds, use a sieve or cheesecloth and push or squeeze the purée, forcing out as much of the strawberry purée as possible.
Combine the purée with the cream mixture and transfer to an ice cream maker. Follow ice cream maker instructions on how long to process. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Tips and Tweaks: For even more Florida strawberry flavor, place a few diced strawberries into the cream mixture just before you freeze the cream in the ice cream maker. Those little pockets of Florida strawberries add a wonderful texture to an otherwise, delectably smooth ice cream. Want a little flavor punch in your ice cream? Add ½ tablespoon of triple-sec to the macerating strawberries.

French Toast Strawberry Kabobs

1 loaf French bread or Texas toast      
6 Eggs
½ cup Milk                  
2 tsps Sugar
½ – 1 tsp Cinnamon              
2 – 3 Tbsps Oil
1 quart Fresh Florida Strawberries – washed and caps removed

Cut the French bread into 1 inch slices. Cut off the crusts and cut into cubes. I got 2 square cubes out of each slice.
Beat the eggs until well mixed. Add the milk and stir it in. Add the cinnamon and sugar. Stir it in.
Add the cubes to the egg mixture. I turned them over with tongs. When coated place on a plate, Repeat until of the cubes are coated with the egg mixture.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cubes, brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel.
Thread 3 pieces of french toast on an 8 inch skewer, alternating with a strawberry. Serve with syrup.
-Recipe courtesy of Mary Ellen Seavey, Recipes, Food & Cooking

Old Fashioned Fresh Strawberry
Lemonade Cake

¾ cup Butter, softened        
1¾ cups Sugar
2 Eggs                
3 Tbsp fresh Lemon juice
2¼ cups All-purpose flour    
1 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda        
2 cups fresh Florida strawberry purée
½ cup Whole buttermilk        
3 (8-inch) round Cake pans
Flour for dusting

Beat the butter & the sugar with an electric stand mixer until light & air. Add the eggs & lemon juice & mix until well blended (stop the mixer on occasion & scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula).Whisk together the flour, baking powder & soda in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the strawberry puree & the buttermilk, blending on low speed just until the ingredients are combined.
Portion & spread the batter evenly between the pans. Drop each pan about an inch from the counter surface 3 times to settle the leavening (this will ensure an even rise in the oven). Bake at 350°F for 21 to 23 minutes or until a wooden pick tests clean. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from the pans & cool completely. Wrap each cake layer separately in plastic wrap. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Strawberry Lemonade Buttercream:
1 cup Butter, softened
2 tsp Fresh lemon zest
8 tsp Fresh lemon juice
2 (16-oz) boxes Powdered sugar
⅔ cup + 3 Tbsp Fresh strawberries,
finely chopped, divided

Beat the butter, lemon zest & lemon juice with an electric stand mixer until light & well blended (stop & scrape the bowl on occasion with a rubber spatula). Add 1 box of powdered sugar & the strawberries. Mix on LOW speed until blended. Add the remaining box of powdered sugar & blend until crumbly. Crank up the mixer to HIGH & beat until combined. Fold in the remaining 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh strawberries. Spread a generous amount of frosting between cake layers & on top. Run a thin layer around the cake sides & push the frosting into crevasses to fill gaps. Swoosh the frosting around the sides & on the top of the cake using a small palate knife.
-Recipe courtesy of Rebcca Gordon, Buttermilk Lipstick


Florida Strawberry Nutella Pizza

8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate bar          
Pizza dough for one pizza
4 cups of sliced Florida strawberries     
1 jar of Nutella

Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven as it pre-heats. This will give you an extra crispy crust just like a traditional stone pizza oven!
Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Pressing from the center out in a circular motion, start forming your pizza. It’s important to keep the dough density consistent so flip the dough and re-flour from time to time.
Take your pizza stone out of the oven. Dust the top of the pizza stone with flour and carefully place the pizza dough on the stone. Place back into the oven and bake for around 10 minutes or until its edges are puffy and the crust begins to turn golden brown.
Once the pizza is ready, remove from the oven and the pizza stone. Now spread the Nutella and don’t be afraid to be as generous as you like! Grate the dark chocolate bar over the Nutella. Evenly distribute the sliced strawberries, slice and enjoy!
-Recipe courtesy of Mental Floss.