Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Enjoy local strawberries

I love strawberry season and all the yummy things it brings: shortcakes, pies, ice cream.

I enjoy picking my own right here in Wilson and eating them in the field when they’re at their very best — still a little warm from the sunshine.

Already this season we have had our share of berries at my house, and once again, I’ve been combing cookbooks and websites for new ways to enjoy strawberries, which, by the way, are packed with Vitamin C and are a good source of dietary fiber and potassium.

The new recipe I tried this year is from Debbi Covington. Debbi is from Wilson County but now works as a caterer in Beaufort, S.C. She shared with me a recipe for strawberry bread. Debbi said she likes the bread with a salad but said it would also be very good with morning coffee.

I had my first slice Monday afternoon, a few hours after it came out of the oven, and was thrilled with how well it turned out. It was just as delicious the next day for my morning snack.

I’m not a big fan of cooked strawberries, and I wondered if I’d really like Debbi’s recipe. But this bread is delicious! I love the pretty color, for starters, and the cinnamon is a nice complement to the flavorful berries. The pecans also add a nice touch.

Debbi’s recipe makes two loaves of bread. I halved the recipe and only made one loaf but wished I had made two. This would be a wonderful bread to share with a neighbor or co-workers.

Sea Island Strawberry Bread
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans. Place the strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little sugar and set aside (to draw out juices). In another bowl, combine sugar with the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Combine the oil and eggs with the strawberries, then stir them into the flour mixture. Add the pecans and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely in the pans on a wire rack. Serves 16, 8 slices per loaf.

From ‘Dining Under the Carolina Moon’ by Debbi Covington

* I used self-rising flour and omitted the salt and baking soda. I also cut the recipe in half, making just one loaf.

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