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Kitchen Mailbox: Make the most of spring's sweet strawberries

Thursday, June 01, 2000

Compiled by Arlene Burnett

How could you not like strawberries? Without strawberries, we wouldn't have strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream or strawberry jam. Without strawberries we wouldn't have these tasty recipes.

Strawberries grew wild in Europe and South and North America until they were cultivated in the 13th century. This member of the rose family was cherished by the Romans for its supposed power of healing anything from loose teeth to gastritis.

Have you ever wondered how the strawberry got its name? One theory is that farmers brought strawberries to market threaded on straws.

About the only time you hear steamed pudding mentioned is around the holidays. But we have a steamed pudding that's perfect for this time of year -- because it calls for strawberries. We've altered the recipe a bit, so make sure you read through our changes and the original recipe.

On a hot summer day, what you need is a thirst-quenching fruity drink. The recipes below for frozen slushes fit the bill and they're a snap. They do contain alcohol, but if you steer clear of the stuff, replace the alcohol with fruit juice or a combination of fruit juice and water or soda.

Marguerite Paradis of Lewiston, Maine, requested a recipe for old-fashioned strawberry pudding. Here's a scrumptious recipe sent to us from Judy Werner of Regent Square.

Note: The recipe below is the original recipe. We made a few changes. Here they are: Instead of mixing the batter by hand, we used an electric mixer. Instead of using a steamer (there are special steamers for making pudding), we poured the batter into a 2-quart bowl and set it in the center of a roasting pan filled with about 21/2 inches of boiling water. Then we steamed the pudding, covered on top of the stove (we used the roasting pan lid), for about 46 minutes. For the sauce, we reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup and the butter to 4 tablespoons. Make sure you stir the sauce frequently or you will get bits of cooked egg white floating through the sauce.

One more note: In our opinion, there wasn't enough strawberry sauce for the pudding. If we make this again, we'll double the strawberry sauce recipe.

Sent in by Judy Werner of Regent Square.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pudding

1 egg yolk (reserve the white for sauce)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
2 cups flour

In bowl, combine egg yolk, milk and dry ingredients and mix by hand (batter will be thick). Put pudding in a steamer and steam for about 50 minutes. Serve hot with strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup strawberries
1 egg white, beaten

Mix together and cook in double boiler over low heat for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Judith Olszewski of Shaler requested a recipe for alcohol slush. Here are two, and they're fabulous. If you prefer nonalcoholic beverages, substitute fruit juice.

Beryl Thomas of Oakmont sent us these two recipes for slush, both great for upcoming picnics.

Strawberry Slush

9 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 cups vodka
1 12-ounce can frozen orange juice
1 package unsweetened raspberry Kool-Aid
1/2 package unsweetened strawberry Kool-Aid
16-ounce package frozen strawberries

Add the sugar to the boiling water and set aside to come to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients and freeze.

When ready to serve, place one scoop of slush in a glass and pour half and half soda over slush.

Note: Instead of frozen strawberries we used 31/2 cups fresh. We let the slush freeze for about 3 hours, added the strawberries and returned the container to freezer. About halfway through the freezing process we stirred the slush again to make sure the strawberries freeze throughout the slush.

Apricot Brandy Slush

4 tea bags
2 cups boiling water
7 cups cold water
1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups apricot brandy
12-ounce can frozen orange juice
12-ounce can frozen lemonade

In 2 cups boiling water, add tea bags; set aside.

In a large plastic container, combine 7 cups cold water, sugar, orange juice, lemonade and brandy. Add tea and freeze.

Serve in a glass with any lemon-lime drink. Add a maraschino cherry for garnish.


Ray Ehrman of Squirrel Hill hopes someone could tell him where to purchase salsify, or oyster plant. Ehrman tells us salsify is a white herb and is eaten as a vegetable.

Thursday, June 01, 2000

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