Strawberry Smoothies

Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Ah, June. Warm sunny days with the daylight lingering into the evening, the rustle of soft green leaves as the gentle breeze blows, and best, yet, all of those fresh, juicy strawberries. Yes, the wet season has lingered, but I am hopeful that this year’s crop of local strawberries will be bright red, sweet and large.

As a child, we would always get our yearly first taste of strawberries around my Mom’s June 5 birthday. The timing seemed perfect for the shortcake treat we would enjoy rather than a traditional cake. I remember my grandmother would bake two giant biscuits and assemble it like a cake, so it was really cool! We would enjoy berries in many ways for the few short weeks that they were available in the markets, and then turn to freezer jam to get our “berry-fix” for the rest of the year. Today, with advanced growing methods and rapid world-wide transportation available, we can get our delicious berries any time of the year.

As we find with most any produce these days, “well-traveled” (imported) will work, but nothing offers the true fresh, “real” taste of locally grown fruits and veggies. We are very fortunate to live in an area that offers us easy access to farmers markets and supermarkets that are within miles of the farm. Just stop at Wegman’s on any given day and you will find fresh fruits and veggies next to signs telling you not only where, but even how many miles away they were grown. Now that is fresh and local!

Back to those delicious strawberries…while we can generally find big, beautiful berries that have been grown in faraway places, you will notice one common flaw. They make look big and perfect, but the flavor simply is not the same as we know and love in those grown here in Chautauqua County. Locally grown berries have that deep flavor and the country charm that we crave. They are a little touch of heaven in a cute little quart box! Compare two berries…one from California and one from Aber’s Acres in Kennedy. I can pretty much guarantee that the homegrown berry will by far surpass the flavor profile of any “foreign grown” berry you find. It’s in the soil, it’s in the water, it’s in the air…it is homegrown goodness at its best!

Strawberry Smoothies

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed** and stems removed
  • 1 quart vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 12 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until it is a smooth, thick consistency. You can enjoy this as a smoothie, or simply pour the mixture into a cake pan, freeze and scoop for a yummy frozen treat!

**Just a note on cleaning your berries…Only one set of hands has ever touched your berries, and those are the hands of the picker. Strawberries are picked and packed by hand and sent directly to the marketplace. As with all produce, you will want to rinse your berries, but do not soak them. Strawberries will absorb the water if you let them soak and this will diminish the flavor and shorten their lifespan. Simply place your berries in a colander, give them a rinse with cool water and enjoy!

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.