While expanding my knowledge on this absolutely amazing fruit I came across some very interesting facts.
Strawberries can be found in both the northern and southern hemispheres and are grown in every state in the US, every province in Canada, all over Europe, Australia and even in Iran. They can grow by the sea, in the woods, on mountain tops and may I add even among blades of grass.
This brings me to a childhood memory that has not come to mind for many, many years. Could I ever have imagined writing about this in my food blog decades later?
While growing up we spent a lot of time with our aunts, uncles and cousins. In those days being newcomers to a new land and unfamiliar way of life made for strong family ties.
On one particular family outing, I believe around the Niagara Falls area we stopped to have a picnic. Leaving the adults to set things up the cousins went exploring nearby. While running about I remember stopping short noticing what I thought to be some little ruby gems hiding in the grass. Instead they were small patches of tiny wild strawberries glistening in the sun. They were hardly larger than the size of peas but perfectly formed, ripe and delicious.
I don’t remember if we shared the find with our parents.
I was also surprised to learn that the Strawberry capital of the world is found in Belgium the country of my birth. Picking strawberries there would certainly be an adventure but I’m totally content to pick strawberries from a field about a ten minute drive from my home.
Time and weather permitting, we usually make our yearly trip to the nearby strawberry fields and fill our baskets to overflowing.
These are quite perishable so a plan has to be in place as to how they will be consumed.
A batch of jam captures the goodness in jars to be enjoyed at a later date and the rest usually end up on top of a scoop of home made Vanilla Ice Cream or in a bowl topped with a mound of whipping cream.
I’ve made home made strawberry ice cream several times but this year I found a recipe for Strawberry, Lemon Basil Mousse which inspired me to try a new strawberry recipe and also incorporate some of the Lemon Basil from the garden.
On a final note, it’s interesting to find out that strawberries are a member of the rose family. After some thoughtful consideration I have come to the conclusion that I would rather enjoy a bouquet of strawberries!
Strawberry Lemon Basil Mousse
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream (35%)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup pureed strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon or regular basil finely chopped
- Puree enough washed and hulled strawberries to equal 1 cup
- Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt, gradually add sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, set aside.
- Whip cream until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold strawberry puree into whipped cream.
- Fold egg whites into strawberry mixture.
- Fill dessert glasses and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Makes approximately 5 to 6 servings.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- After refrigerating for one hour, serve within 2 hours as the mixture tends to separate.
- No basil? That’s okay just make Strawberry Mousse!
- Thanks to a good forward from a good friend I got a great tip! With all the gadgets to hull strawberries out there who would have guessed that a straw would beat them all. Thanks Marianne!!
- After making the mousse for this post and indulging in a portion I froze the remaining mousse since there was no one at home to share it with.
- Later that week it was son-in-law approved as a wonderful frozen treat. We also agreed that if the mixture is placed into Popsicle molds it would make great frozen mousse on a stick!
Although statistics reveal that 1 in 20,000 eggs may carry salmonella food poisoning the dreadful feeling that we might end up with that one egg may keep us away from recipes using raw eggs or egg whites.
I was aware that pasteurized eggs and whites were available on the market but had never used them.
I have a few good recipes using raw egg whites and the dreadful thought does cross my mind when making those recipes.
For those who are not aware of this product it can easily be found at the local supermarket and may calm the fear of encountering that particular bad egg.. Since it comes in 250 ml.cartons equivalent to 8 egg whites it may be more than you need at one time. Whatever is unused can be frozen successfully for up to 3 months.
I would suggest freezing in 2 tablespoon amounts equaling 1 egg white inside ice cube trays. This way you can use whatever is needed at the time. When frozen, store the cubes in a zip lock bag in the freezer to free up your ice cube trays.
On the other hand I found a website that teaches how to pasteurize your own eggs should you want to take that route. However, I think I’ll pass this option for the time being!
Captured Strawberry Goodness!