Nothing beats fresh-picked strawberries!
I'm ashamed to admit it, but my visit to the Strawberry Patch in New Munich this morning was my first visit ever to a berry patch. But since I developed an addiction to berry smoothies last winter, I decided it would be a good idea to stock the freezer now with enough strawberries for a year. Plus, Glen's folks gave us some of their strawberries from last summer, so I knew that locally grown strawberries taste unbelievably better than store-bought berries.
So, I delayed my morning chores and made a quick trip to the Strawberry Patch. I went with Glen's mom, which was a good thing, because she's a berry picking expert.
I couldn't believe how many strawberries there were. Rows and rows of lush green strawberry plants just loaded with fruit. And the berries were huge! Apparently the abundance of rain and sunshine this spring did wonders for the strawberry crop. The Munsterteigers, who own and operate the Strawberry Patch, said this was their best crop ever. Once we started picking, we hardly had to move down the row to fill a pail. We filled our pails in less than a half-hour.
But the best part was the berry sampling. Not only are the berries abundant this year, but they taste superb. Sweet and juicy only begin to describe how good they are. We'll never buy strawberries from the grocery store again. (Glen never would eat store-bought strawberries because he grew up with fresh-picked. I now know why.)
If you're in the area, I highly recommend treating yourself to some of the strawberries at the Strawberry Patch. There's a map to the Patch at www.strawberrypatchmn.com.
If you end up freezing what you can't eat fresh, here's the smoothie recipe I'm addicted to. I swear it's better than ice cream. Our three-year-old really likes this recipe, too.
1 cup frozen berries (I rotate between strawberries and raspberries.)
1 cup milk, plain yogurt, kefir, or viilia (see note below)
1 - 3 tbsp chocolate milk powder (like Nesquik powder), to your taste
Plop the ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Notes: If you use yogurt, kefir or another cultured milk product, add a splash of milk (about 1/4 cup) to help the smoothie blend better.
Here's another smoothie recipe I like, but not as much as the Choco-Berry Smoothie.
1 cup frozen berries
1 cup milk
1 - 2 tbsp orange juice concentrate, to taste
Combine. Blend. Enjoy.
Now, shut off your computer and go pick some strawberries!
One last thought: The petite strawberries taste even better than the plump ones, and they blend better in smoothies. So don't leave the little ones for someone else.