Friday, June 1, 2012

Real Strawberries

 The weather is warming up again in the Bay Area, and my favorite organic farmer, Lucero, has returned to the Menlo Park farmers market. He's back with just his great strawberries. Strawberries are already at peak, but his are making their first appearance for the season. He is a small farmer from Lodi (east of San Francisco) and does not farm many varieties of produce – mainly just tomatoes, squash, eggplant and strawberries – so  he does not come to the market 4-5 months during the cold season. 

 Lucero’s strawberries are small but cute and have real strawberry flavor, never super-sized with white, un-ripened flesh inside. I was not the only person waiting for his strawberries; there were others, including from some high-end restaurants. Lucero’s strawberries are number one on my list of fruit, right next to small white peaches (also coming into season). So I made my first strawberry ice cream of the season using Lucero’s berries.

Strawberry Ice Cream using Lucero’s Berries
Makes about 5 cups (1.25 quarts)

1 ½ cups (about 12 oz.) fresh strawberries, halved
½ cup whole milk
2/3 cup raw cane sugar (do not use highly processed granulated white sugar)
1 ½ cups organic heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Garnish: extra strawberries, fresh mint

Put the strawberries into bowl of food processor fitted with chopping blade. Pulse the strawberries until roughly chopped (do not chop too fine). Reserve in a bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and the vanilla. Stir in the strawberries with all the juices, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.

Turn on the ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

To serve: Remove ice cream from freezer about 6-7 minutes before serving, more or less (depends on how hot the weather is). It should have a soft and creamy texture. Garnish with extra strawberries and fresh mint.

Nutrition per 1/10 recipe (probably a little more than 1/2 cup):
190 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated), 51 mg cholesterol, 19 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 15 g sugars, 1 g protein, 10% DV for vitamin A, 34% DV for vitamin C.
For comparison, Haagen Daz has 250 calories, 16 g fat (10 g saturated), 22 g sugars and 10% DV for vitamin C (that means more sugar and fewer strawberries) per 1/2 cup.
Nutrition info provided by Palate Works.

Lucero's Strawberries

Organic Strawberries from local super market


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