Heartwings Love Notes 1040 And Dine Upon Strawberries
Heartwings says, “Fresh picked berries taste best of all.”
Perhaps I am a heretic, yet I’ve never been a fan of strawberry shortcake. Who needs the biscuit? Strawberries, especial the local ones, are delicious just plain or with a little cream. They’re so heavenly sliced up on sorbet or ice cream, it almost seems a shame to cook them. They can of course be baked into muffins or pancakes. I make sauces of them, especially when they are very ripe and probably won’t keep for long. To do so I cut them up, cook them only briefly and add just a touch of sugar. This way they keep quite a while or can also be frozen for later.
Never wash strawberries until you are ready to use them, and if you can trust your source, try not to wash them at all. It removes some of the vitamin C. Also, I prefer not to refrigerate my strawberries. Like tomatoes, they lose some of their good taste when chilled. If you do refrigerate, be sure to take them out a half hour or so before eating so as to return them to room temperature
Strawberries can also be medicine: Mrs. Grieve, in A Modern Herbal, tells us that the brewed leaves are of great value as a mild laxative while the brewed root is astringent and can be used to treat diarrhea. Even more interesting is her information that fresh strawberries, rubbed on the gums, help keep them in good condition. This could be due to their high Vitamin C content. She also suggests that if strawberry juice is allowed to remain on the teeth for five minutes, and they are then brushed with baking soda, it will help whiten them.
A favorite source, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal, says that the leaves, brewed into tea, have alkaline properties and tend to neutralize excess acid in the stomach. She suggests you drink the tea for spongy gums. An old recipe for a face wash recommends “1-quart strawberries, some wild tansy, and three pints of new milk, distilled together over a soft fire.”
Sacred to the European fertility goddess, Freya, Strawberries are one of the few berries that have a reputation as an aphrodisiac. And, in the Middle Ages, pregnant women avoided them for fear of red birthmarks. Wild strawberries are said to be are the most desirable of all, however, any will do.
In the days when I had a garden, my mother gave me some European strawberry plants. They were perennial, so I enjoyed them every June. Their small, pointed berries were wonderfully sweet and tasty. I used to pick them and put them on my cereal of a summer morning. The birds and the chipmunks loved them too, as did the occasional young visitor to my spiral garden.
May your berries taste sweet whoever has picked them.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert