Berry Season Begins

This spring at our house, we’ve sampled a couple packages of shipped-in strawberries. They garnish a pretty plate, aren’t bad on cereal , but we’re still waiting for strawberries fresh from our local patches. There’s nothing that starts the summer like vine-ripened strawberries packed with sweet, juicy goodness and great nutritional benefits.
Our local strawberry season lasts only three to four weeks. Strawberries do not ripen after they have been picked, so choose your berries fully ripened. Although you may be attracted by the largest berries, medium to small berries have better eating quality than large ones. Berries should be firm and free from bruises. If you store them, watch they don’t mold. Never leave a moldy berry next to a good one. Mold spreads quickly.
The strawberry is a member of the rose family and it is the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside. Native Americans cultivated strawberries in 1643. They crushed the berries into a mortar and added meal to make strawberry bread. Commercial strawberries were cultivated in the 1800s. From Florida to Alaska, from California to Michigan, strawberries are the leading small fruit crop in the United States today.
Dad and I missed making freezer jam last year because we still had some left from the year before. Our supply is dwindling. Time to hit the patch, Dad. We’d better pick enough for a shortcake or two.

Send in recipes. I’m collecting recipes for the next Farm and Dairy cookbook coming in 2008. Our current cookbook, Made from Back o’ the Box, went so well we’re planning more of the same. I clip many recipes from food packages and I’m hoping you do, too. Share them with us for the new book.
Thanks for your help!

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