Strawberries before and after the thaw |

Strawberries before and after the thaw

Simone GrandmainSpecial to the Sierra Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; You know it is really spring in the true sense of the word when the snow starts to melt and those little blossoms begin to poke their heads out of that tundra on your front lawn. Oh andamp;#8212; thereandamp;#8217;s the dogandamp;#8217;s shock collar! A deflated exercise ball. Those goggles you swore up and down you returned to your sister. A couple of empty cans of Keystone (silly neighbors.) Your yard is a virtual time capsule. But treasures from yesteryear aside, itandamp;#8217;s whatandamp;#8217;s popping up at the grocery store that really signifies the change of season.Strawberries. Get andamp;#8217;em while you can and stockpile them for later. So easy to do, no flash-freezing or fancy heat-sealed bags required. Just remove the green ends, rinse well, pat dry, put in a zip-lock bag and freeze to use at a later date in smoothies, on waffles, in yogurt andamp;#8230; well, you get the idea. They are good to go, even in the depth of winter, after 45 seconds in the microwave.While theyandamp;#8217;re fresh, however, seize the moment with these two super-easy dips. Again, just remove the green ends, wash the berries and serve with one of the following, or both, for those who insist on double dipping.

Ingredients1 8-oz. brick of cream cheese, softened1 short, fat tub of Marshmallow Cream1 tablespoon vanilla 1 teaspoon lemon juicePlace all in large bowl and mix until smooth.

Seriously, I ate about a half a cup of this (they were big strawberries) before I was informed of the healthy nature of the ingredients.Ingredients3 avocados, seeded, peeled, meat, scooped out3 tablespoons Agave (available at Safeway, Save Mart or New Moon)3 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetenedWaterPlace all in blender or food processor and mix until smooth, adding water if it gets too thick. Serve.Aother way to prolong the strawberry season in your house hold isandamp;#8230;

No wax-sealed jars, no up-to-your-elbow stirring, no thermometers. Easy to make and enjoy for months. You can turn to your frozen berries, thawed and drained, for this recipe, but it is better with fresh.Ingredients1 pound fresh strawberries2/3-cup sugar2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)Mash the strawberries in bowl using potato masher or large fork. In large skillet stir together berries, sugar, pectin and lemon juice and boil until slightly thickened, about five minutes. Add food coloring if desired. Transfer jam to bowl to cool. Store in tightly covered glass jars in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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