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It’s strawberry time! Have you noticed the abundance in the stores this year? They are extra-large, super red, naturally sweet and juicy. Strawberries are a member of the rose family and are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside – an average of 200 on each berry. They should be purchased ripe and ready to eat. They can be refrigerated for up to three days, unwashed. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and poke some holes in the wrap with the tines of a fork; this allows for ventilation. When you are ready to serve remove the stems and hulls with a strawberry huller (if you have one) or you can use the tip of a small sharp knife. I can’t resist eating them whole as I prepare them for a dessert. You can cut them up and serve whipped cream on top; or leave them whole and dip in brown sugar and then sour cream. Don’t turn up your nose until you try them – delicious! Melt some chocolate (semi-sweet baking chocolate blocks) and dip the whole strawberries with stems in the chocolate. Place on waxed paper until they’re all covered and refrigerate until using. Or, use my favorite recipe below.

Strawberry Parfait (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries, washed and hulled

½ cup plain yogurt

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon honey

Method:

  1. Put four parfait glasses or wine glasses in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Cut the strawberries in half and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Combine the yogurt, softened cream cheese and honey in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Spoon the berries into the chilled glasses alternating with the yogurt mixture.
  5. Return to the refrigerator and serve cold. You could place a dollop of whipped cream on top and a berry half for a spectacular presentation.

There’s always the old standby: Strawberry Shortcake. You can buy the shells and scoop sliced strawberries into them and top with whipped cream or, for a better tasting shortcake, mix up some biscuits, cut in half after cooling and scoop sliced strawberries on the biscuits and top with whipped cream.

Whatever you decide, enjoy those luscious strawberries!