Strawberry Season

When I think of June, I think of the strawberry harvest in Wisconsin. Now, I know that when most people think of strawberries, they envision the giants that are produced in states like California. While those beauties are a joy when local berries aren't available, there's just nothing quite like the bliss that follows popping a fresh, ripe berry into your mouth just after picking it. If you're lucky, it's a warm, sunny day and the berry is just the right temperature -- a slightly warmed side that's been facing the sun and a cooler side that's been shaded by its mother plant. Yup, that's what I look forward to in June.

However, given the large number of berries I've been known to harvest in a season, I'd better be able to do more with them than pop in my mouth one after another. Otherwise, I'd find myself in a strawberry field for most of the month -- unable to move because I've literally filled myself to the brim with strawberries!

So, since I've got strawberries on the brain anyway, I thought it might be fun to share a nice assortment of recipes featuring them. While there are tried and true favorites like pie and muffins, there are also a few surprises like Strawberry-Baked Ham and Strawberry Melon Soup. When it comes down to it, strawberries can find their way into so many types of recipes that you could have them present in every meal!

Here's my special collection of fresh strawberry recipes:

  • Iced Strawberry Tea
  • Strawberry Melon Soup
  • Strawberry Romaine Salad
  • Strawberry-Baked Ham
  • Strawberry Sauce
  • Strawberry Salsa
  • Strawberry Muffins
  • Sky-High Strawberry Pie
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Cake
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Since I'm always looking for great ways to incorporate my favorite fruit into everything from sweets to the main course of a meal, I'd love it if you'd share your favorite strawberry recipes with me. Either post them to our discussion board using the form below or send me them via . Thanks in advance and enjoy the recipes!

Iced Strawberry Tea

Iced Strawberry Tea
This refreshing tea is a special treat on a hot summer day. Because you puree most of the strawberries, it's a great way to use small or slightly bruised fruit.
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 4 cups chilled tea
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Set five whole strawberries aside. Puree the remaining strawberries in a blender and strain the puree into a pitcher. Stir in the tea, sugar and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Chill for at least an hour. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with the whole berries.

  • Yields: about 5 cups
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus chilling time

Strawberry Melon Soup

This delightful soup is an unusual way to begin an elegant picnic or end a simple dinner. Make sure you use very ripe melon and berries.
  • 1/2 ripe honeydew melon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 7 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • Cranberry juice or water

    Halve, seed, peel and cut the melon into chunks. Puree the melon with the lime juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a blender or food processor. Refrigerate the puree in a 2-cup measuring cup. Process the rinsed, stemmed strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the blender or food processor until smooth. Place the mixture into another 2-cup measuring cup and, if needed, stir in additional cranberry juice or water to make an equal amount of liquid as the melon puree. Chill for 2 hours.

    Serve by carefully pouring from each measuring cup at the same time into opposite sides of the same serving bowl. Swirl the mixture with a knife to make patterns. Repeat this process with the other bowls.

    • Yields: 4 servings
    • Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time
  • Strawberry Romaine Salad

    This salad gets its flair from a simple creamy poppy seed dressing. Make a double batch of the dressing to use on your other favorite salads.
    • 1 large head romaine lettuce
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
    • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/8 cup maraschino cherry juice
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice

    In a large bowl, toss the romaine, onion, strawberries and oranges.

    In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cherry juice, honey, poppy seeds and lemon juice. Pour enough of the dressing over the romaine mixture to coat and toss together well.

    • Yields: 4 servings
    • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

    Strawberry-Baked Ham

    Ham is a favorite meat to pair with fruit. Why not opt for strawberries this time instead of the traditional pineapple?
    • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, halved
    • 1 (5-8 pound) smoked ham
    • 1 cup strawberry wine
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Place the ham in a large roaster and arrange the strawberries on top. Mix the wine, water, and Creole mustard together. Pour the mixture over the top of the ham and let it drip down the sides. Bake for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes.

    After the ham is baked, slice and serve topped with Strawberry Sauce.

    • Yields: 1 ham
    • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

    Strawberry Sauce

    In addition to being terrific with baked ham, this long-simmering sauce is also at home as a dessert topping or an accompaniment to poultry.
    • 1 pint fresh strawberries -- whole, washed and stemmed
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup strawberry wine or liqueur

    In a medium-sized saucepan, mix all of the ingredients together and cook, covered, over low heat until thickened, at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If you wish, you can mash the berries with a spoon.

    This can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. It's great as a dessert topping, with grilled chicken or with the baked ham recipe above.

    • Yields: about 3 cups
    • Preparation Time: 3 hours

    Strawberry Salsa

    The sweetness of the berries, tartness of the lime juice and spiciness of the chili combine to create an unforgettable salsa that will make your meal sing.
    • 1 fresh Serrano or jalapeno chili
    • 1 cup finely chopped, fresh strawberries
    • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

    Wearing rubber gloves, remove the stems, seeds, and ribs from chili and chop fine.

    In a bowl, stir together the chili and the remaining salsa ingredients. This salsa may be made several hours ahead and chilled, covered. Serve with tortilla chips or grilled chicken.

    • Yields: about 2 cups
    • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

    Strawberry Muffins

    These simple muffins are great for entertaining. They also refrigerate and freeze well for make-ahead menus.
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
    • 1 cup fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk, egg, and margarine; mix until the ingredients are moistened, but do not overbeat. Stir in the fresh fruit. Spoon the batter into twelve greased muffin cups.

    Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Serve warm.

    • Yields: 12 muffins
    • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

    Sky-High Strawberry Pie

    Who can resist the temptation offered by a pastry crust piled high with lush strawberries?
    • 3 quarts fresh strawberries, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2/3 cups water
    • Red food coloring, optional
    • 1 (10-inch) deep-dish pastry shell, baked

    In a large mixing bowl, mash enough berries to equal 3 cups. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the mashed berries and water; mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir the mixture for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the food coloring if desired. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Chill for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is just slightly warm. Fold in the remaining berries.

    Pile into the prepared pie shell. Chill for 2-3 hours. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream.

    • Yields: 8 servings
    • Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus final chilling time

    Strawberry Rhubarb Cake

    Strawberries and rhubarb pair up to make a winning combination in this great cake. Make sure that you have vanilla ice cream on hand to serve it with.
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
    • 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a bowl, combine the flour, packed brown sugar, quick-cooking oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Press half of the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch round baking pan.

    Combine the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Spoon the fruit into the baking pan.

    In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the fruit. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining crumb mixture.

    Bake the cake for 1 hour. Cool completely before serving with vanilla ice cream.

    • Yields: 8 servings
    • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

    Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

    This simple recipe is hard to beat when it comes to complimenting the great flavor of fresh strawberries. It's also an elegant end to any meal. Try drizzling some of the finished berries with white chocolate for an even prettier presentation.
    • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons shortening
    • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

    Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.

    In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.

    Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

    • Yields: 3 cups of berries
    • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

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