When poplar tree leaves are full and twinkling in the sunlight, when spring’s lilac scent is a memory, then strawberries are ripening on the vines. Ancient Romans believed the crimson heart-shaped fruit alleviated melancholy.
Certainly, one cannot be sad or downhearted when amid rows of deep green leaves, golden straw and red berries strewn every which way.
A member of the rose family, strawberries are unique in that they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. Their nutritional value is on par with the best of fruits: vitamins, fiber, potassium, bioflavonoids, pectin, ellagic acid. Whatever that last one is, according to the book, Foods That Harm-Foods That Heal, “cooking does not destroy ellagic acid, so even strawberry pie and jam may be beneficial”.
Of course pies and jam are beneficial! They’re part of the thousands of recipes which call for the bountiful joys of gathering and eating fresh produce.
Another joy, especially for young ones is cinnamon pies. Also known as lady fingers, cinnamon pie dough cookies, cinnamon crisps, they are the ultimate in leftover scraps. There are always pie dough trimmings from baking pies. They are spread with butter, coated generously with cinnamon and sugar, and then baked to a golden crisp.
If you can manage to save any from little fingers, partner them with a bowl of fresh whole berries, confectioners’ sugar. It’s a sweet breakfast as you watch the sun come up on a warm June morning.
Fresh Harvest Berries
1 quart fresh whole strawberries
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Rinse berries in cold water. Leave stems and hulls on. Drain thoroughly. Place a cup with the sugar in the middle of a large bowl or plate. Arrange berries around the center cup. Serve with coffee, iced tea, whipped cream, ice cream or cinnamon pies.
Cinnamon Pies (Cookies)
Homemade or ready-made pie dough (scrapes from pie baking are fine)
Cinnamon and sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough, cut into wedges, circles, fancy shapes. Kids can use their favorite cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets. Spread with butter. Coat with cinnamon and sugar that has been mixed together. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until just golden brown. Cool.