BOISE, Idaho — Strawberries are in season, both at the fruit stand and in our gardens. Did you know that Americans eat an average of almost five pounds of strawberries every year?
Garden master Jim Duthie celebrates this tasty little fruit by showing us the different kinds of strawberries, and how you can grow them. Plus an extra treat -- Chef Lou Aaron will share an easy and delicious way to enjoy strawberries.
One sure sign that summer is around the corner is when strawberries start turning red. These delicious little gems are the first fruits to ripen in the spring. But did you know that they’re not really a berry?
Despite their name, strawberries aren’t technically berries, like blueberries and raspberries. Why? Because those berries have their seeds on the inside. Instead, strawberries have their seeds on the outside, as many as 200 of them on an average little strawberry. And each strawberry seed can grow into a whole new strawberry plant.
But the most common way for strawberries to reproduce is to send out long viney shoots from the main plant, called runners, or stolons. These runners will eventually produce a little cloned baby strawberry plant on the end that develops its own roots. then, once it gets established, the runner dries up and shrivels away.
Strawberries are actually members of the rose family, and their blossoms give off a sweet fragrance, too.
Strawberries are considered perennials since they grow back year after year. most strawberry plants will last up to five years. There are two main types of strawberries, June-bearing, and everbearing.
The June-bearing strawberry plant is the most popular among home gardeners, producing one large crop of fruit each growing season around late May and June. The fruit is usually bigger, and the plant produces more runners.
An everbearing strawberry looks pretty much the same as the June-bearer, but it will produce two or three crops of strawberries over the course of the summer and into the fall. You won’t have as many berries at one time, but you’ll keep getting fresh berries over a longer time. Some gardeners say they’re even sweeter than June-bearing strawberries.
One of the fun things about growing strawberries is that you’ll get to have a sweet little treat while you’re out working in the garden. And as long as we’re talking strawberries, let’s take a look back on a visit to the kitchen of our friend Chef Lou Aaron from Westside Drive In. He has a delicious recipe for enjoying these little summer favorites -- strawberry and cream biscuits.
“So we start out with three cups of almond flour…” said Chef Lou.
That makes this recipe gluten-free. add in a little salt and baking powder.
“...and then we have some – this is just heavy cream that I whipped – I didn’t whip it to peaks, but I whipped it to where it was creamy, and about a cup and a half. then you mix it in.”
Sweeten it with some maple syrup and then let the dough rest for about five minutes. After that, knead it a couple of times.
“Just fold it over, it’s kind of crumbly, but you want to get it to look solid.”
Flatten it out about a half inch thick, cut out some circles, and place them in a greased muffin tin along with a little dollop of softened cream cheese.
“Which is going to be really kind of like a little mini cheesecake.”
Bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
“And this is how they come out. Isn’t that pretty? They’re kind of crumbly. But they’re okay.”
Drizzle them with strawberry coulis, which is just pureed strawberries with lemon juice and honey, then strained to remove the seeds.
“And you put your strawberries like so on top of there. and then you have a really nice pretty dessert.”
Top it with whipped cream or a little white chocolate sauce.
“And there we have strawberry and cream, which I call biscuits, but it’s really a shortbread.”
And finally, the taste test.
Great treat. Summertime’s coming up, and strawberries are going to be on here pretty soon, so you can make some delicious treats for your family and friends with the strawberries. Thank you, Chef Lou. And don’t forget, strawberries are available now coming on season, or you can grow it yourself.
Strawberries are high in vitamins and other nutrients, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Recipe for Chef Lou Aaron’s Strawberry & Cream Biscuits
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped stiff 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, un-whipped 3 cups almond flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 2 teaspoons maple syrup ½ teaspoon salt 2/3 cup cream cheese, softened 12 whole strawberries, plucked & tossed in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 2/3 cup strawberry coulis (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, stir the flour mixture into the whipped cream to form a stiff dough. Mix in the extra 3 tablespoons heavy cream and maple syrup.
Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about ½ inch. Use a 2-1/2” biscuit cutter and cut out the biscuits.
Grease a muffin tin. Place the biscuits into the muffin wells. They will be a little bigger than the muffin well. Press your finger in the center and press the biscuit down until it looks like a cup.
Spoon about a tablespoon of the cream cheese into each biscuit. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and chill. pop biscuits out of the tins.
On a serving platter, spread the coulis on the platter.
Place biscuits on top of the coulis. Place 1 strawberry on each biscuit. Drizzle any leftover sauce from the strawberries onto the platter.
Place 6 ounces’ strawberries, 3 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a blender. Blend until the strawberries are pureed. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve to remove the seeds. Makes about ¾ cup.
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