Aah, summer! It’s a great time of year for fresh fruit and vegetables. Strawberries are one of my favorite summer treats. I have fond memories of helping my mom out in the kitchen of our church, preparing for the annual strawberry festival. I would sit at a table hulling strawberries by the quarts in preparation for lots of delicious strawberry shortcake. And truth be told, not all of the strawberries made it into the food processor. After all, who can resist a bright red, fresh strawberry?

This year, for the first time, we planted strawberry plants in our garden. It is so much fun to have the kids helping us plant them, water them and then watch as the beautiful white flowers come and go, leaving baby green strawberries waiting to ripen.

It is hard for those little hands to patiently wait for the edible fruit. When my son discovered the first red one, I was filled with joyful memories of my own. I remember picking strawberries with my mom in our backyard and also at local farms where we could harvest enough for jams and strawberry rhubarb pie.

Even my first job had to do with strawberries. My friend and I picked strawberries at a local farm. I think we were only 11 or 12 years old at the time and we may have lasted only a day or two when we realized how hard it was to be out in the sun picking strawberries all day.

While fresh strawberries are often associated with desserts, a friend and then co-worker, Tara Johnson, shared a wonderful recipe with me several years ago that puts strawberries on the dinner table. It’s for strawberry spinach salad. I remember having this salad at her home with her husband and two little children and thinking this recipe is a “keeper.”

Colleen Lunn Scholer is a freelance writer living in Auburn who likes to cook with her husband and two young children.
Strawberry spinach salad

Ingredients:

½ cup sliced almonds

10-ounce package of spinach

1 pint strawberries, sliced

¼ cup green onions, chopped

NOTE: The amounts of almonds, strawberries and onions can be varied, based on preference.

Ingredients for dressing:

½ cup olive oil

½ cup white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon paprika

Method:

Mix all ingredients to make salad dressing. Place almonds, spinach, strawberries and onions in a salad bowl. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss.


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