Strawberries, sweet strawberries

Mike and Trudy Howard haven’t yet put up the strawberry signs along US 901, but I called yesterday and they’d picked a few gallons, still only $8 each. So spring begins, truly, madly, deeply. I ate three of the fist-sized berries on the drive home and added a cup of scarlet slices to last night’s supper salad. Fewer than 100 calories, lots of fiber and Vitamin C.

Almost more importantly, something to think about besides the bag of roasted peanuts tucked in the back of the pantry.  Keep moving, keep doing something else (you can’t eat ice cream, or even peanuts, in the shower), drink more water (10 glasses yesterday), go to bed and make it through another night without binging or even overeating. And, yet, the scale’s stuck at the same weight again this morning. Sigh.

Think about cooking something with the berries that’s not pie — even though last spring I finally made a perfectly non-runny strawberry pie (the secret is a bit of strawberry gelatin). This lovely, complex sauce with the distinct flavors of three fruits is a good and much easier substitute.

You’ll need two cups of capped, sliced berries, 3 good-sized stalks of ripe, red rhubarb, trimmed and diced, and 4 or 5 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into nearly transparent slices.

Put into a saucepan with just a smidgen of water. Start with 1/4 cup, add more if you need it as fruits simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir now and then to make sure it’s not scorching and when fruits begin to “dissolve,” mash to consistency you prefer. I added 1/3 cup sugar and stirred to dissolve, but as berries sweeten, you might use only 1/4 cup or none at all.

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