The brighter pink shade and sweet taste of strawberries will beckon you in May for its National Strawberry Month. We chomp on them fresh from the market, use them for smoothies, bake pies with them, use them in parfaits and more. Admit it, they tantalize us too much and therefore, nothing made of strawberry can be ignored. Remember the movie Pretty Woman, in which Julia Roberts tries a strawberry with champagne and her mind is blown. Well, where do you think the idea came from?
It is believed that the French consider strawberries a great aphrodisiac. In fact, a tradition in the French countryside served newlywed cold strawberry soup. Strawberries belong to the Rosaceous family (roses). They are grown in all 50 states of the US and are ranked 2nd on the list of healthiest berries after Goji berry.
Let’s explore the origins of strawberry:
History of Strawberry
The garden strawberry belongs to the genus Fragaria. This tart and sweet tasting fruit is appreciated worldwide for its aroma, juicy texture and bright red color. It was in 1750 when the first garden strawberry was bred. This strawberry was result of a cross between the Virginia Strawberry (Fragariavirginiana) from eastern North America and the Beach Strawberry (Fragariachiloensis) from Chile. After this, the farming of garden strawberry started in the 18th century in Brittany, France. Before, the wild strawberries were the only source of this fruit.
In ancient Roman literature, strawberry has been mentioned but for medicinal use. It is believed that in the 14th century, the French took strawberries to their gardens from the forest for harvest. Another early mention of strawberries dates back to the rein of France’s King Charles V, who had around 1,200 strawberry plants. In the 15th century, it was recorded that the Flemish, Italian, English and Germans used strawberries in art. In fact, it was also noted that this fruit and its plant were used for the treatment of depressive illnesses.
To help you enjoy National Strawberry Month, we have come up with a number of recipes from classic ice cream to smoothies and desserts. Let’s start with something simple:
Classic Strawberry Ice Cream
Nothing beats summer heat like ice cream and when that ice cream happens to have the strawberry flavor, there’s no staying away. Calling out all ice cream lovers to try this extremely easy and delicious recipe… a surprise that your kids will surely love!
- Strawberries: 1 pound
- Heavy Cream: 2 cups
- Whole Milk: 1 cup
- Sugar: 2/3 cup
- Wash the strawberries and cut them into ¼” slices
- Set aside half of the strawberries and add the remaining half in a food processor to make a puree
- Combine milk, sugar and cream in a saucepan and cook until the sugar has dissolved
- Pure the sweet milk mixture into a large bowl and add the puree into it
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator
- Dice the strawberry slices into smaller pieces and mix them into the cold milk mixture
- Pour this mixture into an ice cream maker and let it churn for 45 minutes
- Scoop the ice cream into an airtight jar and freeze for 2 hours
- Serve with strawberry syrup drizzled on top
This is the classic strawberry smoothie recipe with just milk and yoghurt. It’s a great drink to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. What better way to kick start National Strawberry Month than with a glass of chilled strawberry smoothie.
- Strawberries: 8 (hulled)
- Skim Milk: ½ cup
- Plain Yogurt: ½ cup
- White Sugar: 3 tbsp
- Vanilla Extract: 2 tsp
- Ice Cubes: 6 (crushed)
Add all the ingredients in blender and pulse until a creamy, smooth texture forms. Your strawberry smoothie is ready to serve.
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
Not in the mood to drink plane milkshake? Well, this recipe will help you put a twist on your drink. Its healthy, it’s delicious and it contains one of our favorite berries – strawberry. The rich taste of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and the sweetness of strawberry create the perfect smoothie combination that everyone will love.
- Frozen Strawberries: 1 cup
- Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt: ¾ cup
- Low-Fat Milk: ½ cup
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese: 2 ounces
- Vanilla Extract: 1 tbsp
- Agave Nectar: 1 ½ tbsp
- Whip Cream (optional)
Add all the ingredients in blender and pulse until a creamy, smooth texture forms. Top with whip cream and serve immediately.
Triple Berry Smoothie
What’s better than one berry? Three berries! The sweetness and tartness of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries is like heave. Add in the milk and yoghurt and you have got a tall glass of come to mama.
- Banana: 1
- Frozen Strawberries: 1 cup
- Frozen Blackberries: 1 ½ cup
- Frozen Raspberries: 1 cup
- Almond Milk: 1 ¼ cup
- Greek Yogurt: ½ cup
- In a blender combine Greek yoghurt, frozen raspberries, almond milk, frozen strawberries, banana and one cup blackberries
- Add crush ice cubes in a glass and pour in the smoothie
- Top with a few blackberries and serve
Strawberry Lemon Shortcake
What’s better than a cake slice? A mini cake that you can eat without getting your hands dirty! This strawberry lemon shortcake is a delight that everyone at your next party will love. Make sure to whip up extras because you will be rolling out the trays throughout the party.
- Butter (Softened): 1 tbsp
- Grated Lemon Peel: 1 tsp
- Fresh Strawberries (sliced): 1 ½ cup
- Sugar: 2 tbsp
- All-Purpose Flour: 1 cup
- Sugar: 3tbsp
- Baking Powder: 1 tsp
- Grated Lemon Peel: 3/5 tsp
- Salt: 1/8 tsp
- Cold Butter (Cubed): 3 tbsp
- 2% Milk: 1/3 cup
- Large Egg Yolk: 1
- Heavy Whipping Cream: 1/3 cup
- Sugar: 1tsp
- Turn on the oven to 450°
- Mix lemon peel and butter in a small bowl until blended
- Coat strawberries with sugar in another bowl and let it sit on the counter as you make the shortcakes
- Whisk sugar, flour, lemon peel, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the butter cubes and press with a wooden spoon until a coarse crumb-like mixture forms.
- In another bowl, add the egg yolk and milk, and whisk until blended well
- Add the flour slowly into the milk and egg yolk mixture
- Use the wooden spoon to form dough and then used your hands. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 times
- Cut the dough into four pieces and form ¾ inch patties
- Place the patties on tray covered with parchment paper and slide it into the oven
- Bake the patties for 10 minutes and then allow them to cool
- In the meantime, beat sugar and cream in a bowl
- Split the shortcake and spread cream on the top bottoms, place a strawberry in the middle and then spread the lemon-butter mixture on the tops
- Your strawberry shortcake is ready
Strawberry Shortcake Popcorn
Planning a movie night with your family? This sweet delight will keep everyone munching on these sugary popcorns mixed with Angel cake and strawberries. This recipe is quite easy to make and is great for an evening snack.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries: 1 cup
- Powdered Sugar: 6 tbsp
- Butter: 4 tbsp
- Microwave Pop Corn Bag: 1
- Angel Food Cake (cubed): 1 cup
- Add the powdered sugar and freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor. Blend until a powdery mixture forms
- Pop the popcorn bag in the microwave and then toss the popcorns in a big bowl
- Add melted butter on the popcorn and then sprinkle powdered strawberry mixture on top
- Cover the bowl with a plate and shake for a few seconds to coat the popcorn with the powder
- Add in the angel food cake cubes and the freeze-dried strawberries, and serve
Sky-High Strawberry Pie
Why do we call it a sky-high pie? Well, because it is piled up high with syrupy soaked strawberries that burst with flavor in your mouth. The buttery crust of a pie, the sweetness of strawberries and a mouth full of whip cream and vanilla pudding mix… doesn’t this sound like heaven? Try this recipe for yourself and find out now.
- Fresh Strawberries: 3 quarts
- Sugar: 1 ½ cups
- Cornstarch: 6 tbsp
- Water: 2/3 cup
- Deep-Dish Pie Crust (baked): 1 (10 inches)
- Heavy Whipping Cream: 1 cup
- Red Food Coloring (optional)
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix: 4 ½ tsp
- In a bowl, mash 3 cups of berries and set aside
- In a saucepan, add cornstarch and sugar. Stir in water and the mashed berries
- Bring the mixture to a boil, all the while stirring constantly
- Cook the mixture for two minutes or until it thickens
- Remove the mixture from heat and add the food coloring
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes
- Add in the remaining berries and pile this mixture into the pie crust. Refrigerate for 3 hours
- Add cream in a small bowl and whip until you see soft peaks
- Sprinkle the instant vanilla pudding mix and whip the cream a few seconds more
- You can either pipe the whip cream around the pie’s edge or dollop on each slice while serving
Nutella Stuffed Strawberries
Looking for a sweet gift for your mom this Mother’s Day? Well, don’t go off buying those expensive gourmet chocolates from the store. We have just the recipe for you to make them at home: chocolate dipped strawberries. Pace yourself because there will be a few casualties during the making… yes, they taste that good!
- Fresh Strawberries: 12
- Nutella: ¼ cup
- Milk Chocolate Chips (melted): 1 cup
- Hazelnuts (chopped): ¼ cup
- Confectioners’ Sugar:
- Remove the stems of the strawberries and using a knife, cut out the centers
- Pipe Nutella into the centers
- Insert a tooth pick into either sides of the strawberry and then dip into the melted chocolate
- Place the strawberry onto the butter paper and allow it to dry
- Dip another strawberry into the melted chocolate and before it dries, sprinkle hazelnuts on it
- Dust two chocolate-dipped strawberries with confectioner’s sugar
Note: You can use different types of melted chocolates and toppings, and create a gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberry gift box.
And this is how you should celebrate National Strawberry Month! There are plenty of places in the US where you can go strawberry picking such as the Tanaka Farms in Irvine, California, Valley Home Farm in Wartrace, Tennessee, Lewin Farm in Long Island, New York, Blessington Farms in Simonton, Texas, Finke’s Berry Farm in Carlton, Minnesota, Carandale Farm in Oregon, Wisconsin, etc. Make it a family day and explore your country side. Visit our blog Bright Settings to find out about other national food holidays and recipes.