Elegant Edibles Catering
Summer has arrived! Well, the calendar says so any way. Hopefully Mother Nature will see fit to cooperate and send in the sun and warmth! This year the farmers have had a lousy planting season because of all the rain, but there are a few positives to the wet spring we have endured. I found fresh, local strawberries in the markets this week and they are beautiful! The extra moisture has allowed them to grow large and juicy, and the ones I sampled were very sweet. Spring and summer give us a bounty of luscious berries…strawberries, blueberries, raspberries-both red and black-it makes the mouth water to think of them. There are so many creative things you can do with berries beyond pie. Think outside the box and just imagine fruit relishes, fruit kebabs and fruit snacks.
When choosing berries, be sure to choose those that are ripe, but not over-ripe or otherwise blemished. I always try to look at all of the berries, turning the package in all directions to make sure there aren’t any moldy or otherwise spoiled berries hiding underneath the good ones. If you see excess moisture or liquid in the package, it is a clue that the berries may be overripe and therefore near the end of their shelf life. When you get them home, rinse the berries with cool water and lay them out on a towel to dry. Do not soak berries, (such as strawberries or raspberries), as they will absorb water. Leave the hulls on the strawberries until you are ready to use them. Keep rinsed berries refrigerated.
Berries have great flavor by themselves, but as I mentioned above, they will absorb liquid. The cool part of that is that the flavor can be enhanced by macerating (infusing) them with spirits, wine or juices. A drizzle of wine, flavored vodka, or fruit juice over your berries will give them another layer of flavor. Remember to taste your berries before adding additional sugar to them; while some berries may be a bit tart, you don’t want to cover the fresh flavor by over sweetening them. As with any recipe, follow the “to taste” rule of thumb…taste and let them rest a bit before adding the entire amount of sweetener (sugar or artificial sweetener) or additional flavors to make sure they actually need more!
From color to aroma and finally taste, fresh berries tickle many of the senses. This week let’s add touch to that list of senses, pick up some berries and enjoy the taste of summer!
Strawberry Lemonade Pops
Yield 16 pops
- 2 c water
- 1 c sugar
- 4 c strawberries, pureed in blender
- ¼ c fresh squeezed lemon juice
In a sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of brown sugar to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add strawberry puree lemon juice. Stir to blend well.
Fill 16 frozen pop molds or paper cups with about ¼ cup of fruit mixture. Freeze 1 hour or until slushy. Insert stick then freeze until firm
Raspberry Onion Relish
Yield 2½ cups
- 2 c fresh raspberries
- 4 green onions, sliced thinly
- ½ c finely chopped red onion
- 2 T white wine vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T minced fresh mint
- 1/8 t salt
- 1/8 t coarsely ground pepper
In a small bowl, gently combine all ingredients.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.