Kitchen Korner: Perfect Pickup at Right Time

Submitted by Mary Murray

The middle of April brought a three-day ice storm. Several times I went to the door to my backyard and stared at my garden frames, which are supposed to be filled with fresh dirt and compost by now. Instead I watched them fill with snow and ice (and more snow and ice) until that junk made those frames completely disappear. I was done. I let myself sink into climate change despair.

A few hours later I found myself at Costco, roaming the aisles with all the others seeking diversion from the storm. And then it happened:  Strawberries! Huge containers of traditionally and organically grown berries with just $1 difference in price. What 10 years ago would have seemed like a suspicious off-season trick (hard, flavorless berries) turned out to be the redeemer of my sun-parched soul. They were bright red, plump, juicy and extremely flavorful.

I spent the rest of the weekend cooking, working strawberries into almost every meal.

Strawberries were first cultivated in their wild form, growing in forests. Around the 14th century France’s King Charles V brought 1,200 wild plants to his royal garden. From the start it was determined that the entire strawberry plant was useful for treating depressive illnesses. To me this is a no brainer: complex medical research at my house last weekend proved it. One long miserable disappointing weekend plus fresh, bright red, juicy strawberries taken every few hours equaled joy, hope and renewed faith in the eventual turning of the season.

Here is a great way to heal the blues now, until the sun shows up to do it for you.

Strawberry Salad

6 cups of fresh greens (I like half spinach and half romaine)

2 cups sliced strawberries

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Very thinly sliced red onion to taste

¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Layer these in a pretty salad bowl, let it sit at room temp for an hour or less, toss with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and Voila’!  Bring on spring!