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Getting to know the June Strawberry with a Strawberry Farmer | Great Performances

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MAY
18
2017
Getting to know the June Strawberry with a Strawberry Farmer
Recipes and Food
by Jennifer Baughman, Community Manager & Stefanie Zaitz, Sustainability Coordinator

“They’re not berries?” I asked.

“Nope. They’re an aggregate fruit.” Stefanie Zaitz, Sustainability Coordinator for GP.

“…aggregate..fruit?”

“Accessory fruit – pseudofruit. Fake. They don’t come from a single ovary of the flower, which is the traditional definition of how fruit is ‘born.’ That fleshy fruit is actually the tissue of many ovaries fusing together. And the seeds are nestled in between.”

“…”

“Yes.”

“How do they make babies?”

“How do they make babies: the plant extends a little arm horizontally, a “runner.” Growing the baby takes a lot of energy, so farmers will cut the runner frequently, so it has more energy to produce bigger fruits. It takes eight parent strawberries to create a new strawberry plant. This makes them an optiploid.”

“Bless you.”

“I would also tell readers two great varieties for home growing, Sparkle or Jewel –“

“Ooooh, Sparkle and Jewel how cute!”

“Yep Sparkle and Jewel, they produce small, full flavored fruits in June. They’ll give you about a quart of fruit per plant. Your typical store-bought brand has gone through so much runner cutting it loses a lot of its flavor just to get bigger. They end up watery.  And they’re pricey – these two are easy to care for and have the seasonal flavor you want.”

Once you have your fresh picked, flavor packed, nutritious strawberries on the cutting board, try using them in a refreshing Strawberry Fields tequila cocktail, with simple syrup, lemon juice, and muddled strawberries. 

We also served them in a beautiful summer sangria at last year's Sylvia Center Farm to Table benefit, with limoncello, Rose wine, and mint. 

From Sylvia's Table, this strawberry salad is pretty, delicious, and nutritious - and a good example of the versatility of strawberries. 

Katchkie Farm Spinach Salad 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard 

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound baby spinach, stems trimmed and washed

1 cup thinly sliced strawberries

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

2 ounces feta cheese, diced or crumbled

Method:

Whisk the vinegars, mustard, and shallot together in a large serving bowl. Add salt n' pepper to taste. Drizzle in the oil while whisking. Add the spinach, strawberries, almonds, and feta cheese to the vinaigrette, toss to combine, and serve!

So that is healthy. If we wanna go rich, try this recipe. I consulted Saveur magazine’s top food blogs of 2016 and found Nevada Berg’s picturesque Norwegian farm-to-table recipes. Enjoy!

Bløtkake (Norwegian Layer Cake)

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake/Sukkerbrød

  • 5 eggs
  • 175g (∼3/4 cup) sugar
  • 175g (∼1 1/2 cups) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Custard

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 55g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 2 Tb corn starch
  • 5 dl (2 cups) whole milk
  • ½ vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Whipped Cream

  • 650g (3 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 Tb sugar


Other

  • Mix of blueberries, strawberries & raspberries (or other fruits/berries of your choice)
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Milk or juice

Preheat the oven to 165°C/325°F. Place a parchment sheet in the bottom of a spring form cake pan so that it fits just right (cutting it into a circular shape and greasing the bottom so it sticks) and grease the sides of the pan and top of the parchment sheet. Blend the eggs and sugar together in a kitchen mixer on medium/high speed for 5-8 minutes, until it becomes stiff and light in color ensuring the cake is airy and light. Sift the flour and baking powder over the batter and mix gently with a spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared spring form cake pan and place on top of a cookie sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. When the cake is done, allow to cool. You can also freeze the cake for future use.

Begin making the custard by whisking together the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and blend until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Place the whole milk in a saucepan and add the vanilla beans by scraping them from the pod and discarding the pod afterwards. Warm the milk just before it begins to boil, without letting it boil. Take it off the heat.

Steadily add the milk to the bowl with the sugar mixture, whisking constantly to avoid any curdling of the eggs. When you have mixed everything together, pour it back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Over medium heat, cook the mixture until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

To make the whipped cream, place the cream and the sugar in a kitchen mixer and whip on medium/high for a couple of minutes until the cream is stiff.

To assemble the cake, take your sponge cake and cut it into 3 even and separate (horizontal) layers. On the bottom layer, spoon over some milk or juice (this will help soften the cake) then spread a layer of jam on top. Top the jam with a good amount of the custard, followed by the whipped cream and spread it out to the edges of the cake. Place the second layer of sponge on top and repeat with the milk, jam, custard, and whipped cream (reserving enough to cover the cake). Place the final layer of cake on top and cover completely with the rest of the whipped cream, sides and all. Decorate the top with the berries.

Bløtkake is one of those cakes that actually tastes better the next day because the custard and whipped cream has had some time to soak into the sponge cake. You can, of course, serve this cake immediately and it’s still delightful, but seconds on the day after will be even better. 


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