May 20th Is Pick Strawberries DayMay 6th, 2012 by Craig Mullins
Pick Strawberries Day falls on a Sunday this year, making it a perfect day for a little quality time with your family in nature.
As with many of the fun food holidays, I cannot find much of an origin or history of the day. My guess is that May 20th is an arbitrary date that falls near the beginning of the strawberry season.
The garden strawberry – which isn’t actually a botanical berry, but rather an aggregate accessory fruit – is a hybrid species that is grown and cultivated around the world for its fruit, the common strawberry. The fruit is appreciated for its bright red color, juicy texture, characteristic aroma, and sweetness. Strawberries can be enjoyed as either a fresh food or in prepared products such as preserves, pies, fruit juice, milkshakes, or ice cream.
We have the French to thank for the modern garden strawberry. They first cultivated the fruit in Brittany, France during the 18th century. Since then cultivation of strawberries has grown by leaps and bounds.
…Cultivation follows one of two general models, annual plasticulture or a perennial system of matted rows or mounds. A small amount of strawberries are also produced in greenhouses during the off season.
The bulk of modern commercial production uses the plasticulture system. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic to prevent weed growth and erosion. Plants, usually obtained from northern nurseries, are planted through holes punched in this covering, and irrigation tubing is run underneath…
The other major method, which uses the same plants from year to year growing in rows or on mounds, is most common in colder climates. It has lower investment costs, and lower overall maintenance requirements. Yields are typically lower than in plasticulture.
A third method uses a compost sock. Plants grown in compost socks have been shown to produce significantly higher oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), flavonoids, anthocyanins, fructose, glucose, sucrose, malic acid, and citric acid than fruit produced in the black plastic mulch or matted row systems.
How to celebrate Pick Strawberries Day is spelled out in the name of the holiday – pick strawberries. But don’t worry if you’re not in an area where picking strawberries is easy to do. Visit your local market and pick a few baskets of strawberries from there.
Then go home and celebrate the day by baking and eating a delicious strawberry dessert!
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 level tablespoons cold butter
Ice water to make a stiff dough (3 to 4 tablespoons)
Soft butter to moisten shortcake after baking
3 cups fresh, sliced strawberries that have been dredged and allowed to stand in sugar at room temperature for an hour (or refrigerate if kept longer).
Heavy cream for topping the cake
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
This very old recipe makes a crisp shortcake (somewhat like a large biscuit) rather than a soft fluffy cake, in the old fashioned style of strawberry shortcake.
Combine dry ingredients and cut in the shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal.
Add water and mix until a ball of dough forms.
Turn the dough out on a floured board and pat it flat and round until cake is about an inch thick.
Bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and with a sharp, heated knife, carefully split it and butter it as you would a biscuit. Put strawberries inside the still-hot buttered cake.
Pour a small amount of heavy cream over each serving just before bringing to the table.
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1-2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup low-sugar strawberry preserves
2 tsp. strawberry extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/3 cup low-sugar strawberry preserves
1 (8 oz container) frozen light whipped topping, thawed
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil to overlap sides by 2″. Coat with cooking spray.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and unsweetened chocolate on high in 30-second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Stir in sugar, 1/2 cup strawberry preserves and strawberry extract, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add flour, cocoa and salt, stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter in pan.
Bake 40 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on rack, lift from pan, using foil. Toss 2 cups strawberries with 1/3 cup preserves. Slice cooled brownies in half.
Sandwich with whipped topping and strawberry mix. Top with additional topping and strawberries. Repeat with all brownies.
Happy Pick Strawberries Day! What’s your favorite strawberry dish? We’d love to know the recipe!