In my never-ending effort to take an off-the-beaten-path approach to food, I decided to attempt a Strawberry Gazpacho earlier this week. Our family adores strawberries, and now that they can be found in abundance, we stocked up by purchasing FIVE pounds to cook and bake with. The price of strawberries varies throughout the year, but May is National Strawberry Month and since they are in season, the prices are unbeatable.
Before cooking, baking, or simply eating fresh strawberries, there are a couple of things you’ll want to take note of. Since California Strawberries are fully ripe when they are picked, they won’t continue to ripen. Here are some tips you might find helpful as you shop for strawberries at your local market:
1. Choose berries with a bright red color, a natural shine, and fresh green caps
2. Once home, refrigerate your strawberries and keep them dry until just before use. Ideally, you’ll also want to remove them from their original packaging so they last as long as possible.
3. When you are ready to use your strawberries, simply remove the green cap (I like to use a strawberry huller), wash, and blot dry.
Strawberries are best enjoyed and at their peak flavor at room temperature. If you have time (and patience), leave them out for 20 minutes or so before using them in salads, cereals or other fresh dishes. And if you have an abundance, as I do at present, try freezing or canning them (I have a very easy Strawberry Jam recipe I’ll share with you soon!).
When I think of baking or cooking with strawberries, muffins, jams, and other sweet dishes come to mind. It wasn’t until my visit with the California Strawberry Commission that I realized just how versatile these berries are. Strawberries work really well in savory dishes, so I whipped up a quick, refreshing Strawberry Gazpacho Soup, perfect for the coming summer months. This is a no-cook soup and while I recommend chilling it before serving, you could enjoy it right away if you’d like.
This soup is cool, refreshing, and flavorful. It has the characteristic tangy flavor of a gazpacho combined with a hint of strawberry sweetness!
Serve it with fresh French Bread and you’ll have the perfect summer appetizer.
You’ll find California Strawberries in both one-pound and four-pound containers in the grocery section of your local Walmart. Grab them right now while they are on special!
Recipe & Images: Rockin’ Mama