Fun Ways To Use Strawberries This Summer


I remember one thing I always liked to do when I visited my mom's family in Arkansas was go through my grandfather's strawberry patch. They had a pretty big one, enough to where there would be a pretty steady stream of them throughout the summer. Nowadays we just go to the grocery store or stop at one of those places that lets you pick as much as you want and pay by the bucket, but it doesn't really matter to me how you get the strawberries. What matters is that there are a lot of ways you can make summer treats for yourself and your kids that are sure to be a big hit! Here are a few ideas.

-For a twist on 'strawberry shortcake', make strawberry crepes. You can get the crepes at the grocery store, most often in the produce or freezer section. Cut the strawberries up, slightly mash them and mix in sugar the way you would for shortcake, but spoon them into the center of a warm crepe and wrap it up like a taco. Add whipped cream both inside and outside the crepe (or as you prefer). My suggestion is to use two or three crepes since they are so thin. I've also put the 'finished product' in a pan and let it cook until it was about the same consistency as an ice cream cone. Delicious!

-Cut them and put them on top of a chicken Caesar or garden salad.

-Cut up fresh, ripe strawberries and mash them up very well. If you'd like, you can use a blender or food processor. Put them in a cup or bowl, mix in a teaspoon or two of sugar and freeze them for a hot-weather treat. You can either eat them with a spoon the way you would an Italian ice, or you can put in a popsicle stick. On a related note, if you have large ice trays, you can spoon the mixture into them. Put toothpicks in each cube and freeze for a twist on the Kool-aid popsicles your mom used to make.

-Melt some confectioner's chocolate and make chocolate-dipped strawberries. Confectioner's chocolate can be found at most grocery stores and doesn't cost a lot compared to what you are getting. Lay them on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate them until the chocolate is solid again. Awesome!

-Use them to garnish cocktails when you have friends over.

-For a fun pancake syrup, boil about a cup of sugar in a cup of water. Add mashed strawberries, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If you're going to be using it on something that is already sweet (like a cake or ice cream), use only ½ a cup sugar.

Of course, there's always the old standby-dipping a fresh strawberry into some sugar and eating it right off the stem!

As you can see, strawberries are some of the most versatile summer fruits out there. I know your kids will enjoy the frozen recipes on a hot day, but you can keep the chocolate-dipped strawberries to yourself!

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