Today is National Pick Strawberries Day. This day was created to encourage us to get out, enjoy fresh air and pick some sweet, beautiful strawberries. While venturing out into the strawberry field near you and plucking those berries right off the vine would be best, it might not always be possible.
We are blessed to live in California. May is prime strawberry picking time. All up and down the central valley and along the southern coast, acres upon acres of fresh berries are just waiting to be picked. Take a drive along a country road this time of year and you’re bound to find a Strawberry Stand somewhere. Be sure to get your berries early in the morning, when they are at the peak of fresh picked goodness. If you are lucky, you’ll find a farm that allows you to pick your own. If not, visit a nearby stand and have your fill.
Hubby and I love fresh berries of any kind. Wherever we go, we like hike along the rivers and streams that zigzag through the land in search of wild blackberry bushes. Along the Rouge River in Oregon has some of the best summer berries.
We tried to grow our own strawberries. It takes a couple of years for the plants to really reach maturity. While we didn’t mind the wait, it was the war with the insects that finally made us give up. The bugs were eating the berries faster than we could pick them. We tried a variety of organic ways to fight the infestation, but it was so labor intense it just wasn’t worth it. Especially when we have a stand just up the road with the most delicious berries.
That said, be sure you wash your berries VERY well. Most commercial fields use a heavy amount of pesticides. Some are organic, some aren’t. So unless you know for sure, don’t take a chance.
Did you know that strawberries are members of the rose family? Yep. And they are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside. Like most berries, these are a great source of fiber, folic acids, potassium and plenty of vitamin C. Prior to the 18th Century, strawberries grew wild. Then France (leave it to the French) got the bright idea to farm berries. Thank you, France.
National Pick Strawberries Day came at the perfect time. Recently my guys and I decided to take a drive up into the western slopes of the Sierra Mountains to have a picnic and do a little hiking. I love picnics. We had Buffalo Wraps, a potato salad recipe I’ll share soon, and a dessert that was a snap to make.
12 large Strawberries
1-1/2 cups Chocolate Chips
1-1/2 teaspoons Shortening
12 Round Brownie Bites
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Set aside.
Select berries that are large, bright and beautiful. Clean berries, remove green tops and set trimmed berries on paper towels. Set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips with shortening. Heat for 15 seconds, remove, stir, and repeat in 10 second intervals until smooth.
Dip tops of the brownie bites into the melted chocolate. Place brownie on the prepared pan. Top each brownie with a strawberry, cut side down. Secure with a toothpick.
With a spoon, dollop the tops of the berries with more melted chocolate, allowing chocolate to drip down the sides.
Place brownies in the refrigerator to set. Remove toothpicks, arrange on a serving platter, serve and enjoy.
This beautiful dessert travels well once set. Place berries in a Tupperware container, place in a cooler and away you go. Perfect after a day of hiking.
California’s Calaveras Big Trees State Park