Strawberry Cover Stories Bring Back Berry Good Memories

pauladeen_may-june.jpgFor as long as I can remember, strawberries have been one of my most favorite fruits. They usually hit their peak in the summer, meaning they were plentiful in the market for only a few months, so you’d better enjoy them while they lasted.

But recent spring covers of Southern Living, Cooking With Paula Deen and Taste of the South brought an even more precious memory to mind. My late maternal grandfather had a strawberry patch in his backyard garden of various fruits and vegetables that he tended most of his life. Though small in comparison to acres-long fields, the little plants and their promising blooms brought great joy to a little girl who loved strawberries, and left her awestruck that her grandfather knew how to grow them.

With so much attention directed at the strawberry, ’tis certainly the season for picking and preparing the luscious fruit. And if you like strawberries as much as I do, here’s a preview of the recipes you’ll find in the magazines that dressed the red delights up as their cover dessert.

Southern Living magazine, April 2010

Though the bulk of the issue’s focus is on Easter meals, one page was dedicated to the two featured strawberry desserts: Strawberry-Orange Shortcake Tart and Vanilla-Stuffed Strawberry Cupcakes.

Both recipes are fairly time consuming, since the tart shell and the vanilla bean custard for the cupcake (recipe included) are made from scratch. But the hands-on time for both dishes and the custard–which Southern Living assures is well worth the effort, helped along by an angel food cake mix shortcut for the cupcakes–is 30 minutes or less.

Cooking With Paula Deen magazine, May/June 2010

With Easter behind us, this issue showed a little more love to the strawberry, including a page on measuring berries, choosing and storing them, and providing a little history. For example, according to the magazine, American Indians made strawberry bread by crushing the berries into cornmeal, making a forerunner to a Southern favorite, the strawberry shortcake.

But the extra attention didn’t stop there. Nearly full-page photos accompanied two recipes, Strawberry Pie and Strawberry Cobbler. An absence of prep times means time-conscious cooks will have to settle for a few time savers. The pie recipe, for example, starts with refrigerated pie crust dough and subs JELL-O for strawberry gelatin. The cobbler directions call for baking it in small, serve-straight-from-the-oven ramekins.

Taste of the South magazine, May/June 2010

Aside from the cover recipe, strawberries were an ingredient–though not the sole berry–in only one other dish. The Meringue Torte with Custard and Berries called for blueberries and red and golden raspberries, in addition to strawberries.

Considering the meringue for the torte and the cake for the featured Toasted Almond-Strawberry Napoleons are made from scratch, these recipes are time consuming–especially without any recommended shortcuts.

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Michelle Ryan

About Michelle Ryan

Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.