By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen
Although I was born in Atlanta, my family moved to “the country” when I was eight, a move for which I will forever be grateful. There in Buchanan, I grew up with some of the finest people imaginable, and my South Georgia–born daddy was able to farm and garden to his – if not my late mother’s – heart’s content. I always thought of them as Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor from Green Acres, with my dad happiest in the garden and my mom always eager to get back to “civilization,” usually in the form of either Cobb Center or Cumberland Mall.
So I grew up knowing what it was like to collect eggs from the chicken house, experience a “hog killin’,” and have our Sunday morning trip to church delayed because the cows had gotten out—again.
I also learned that all foods did not come from the A&P. We grew our own beans, peas, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, carrots, potatoes, onions, okra and melons. And for a few fine years, we had an enormous patch of strawberries growing near the well house.
Oh, the sight of those beautiful little berries, ripe for the picking. Vegetables were tasty, but I thought back then—and still do—that strawberries were some of the finest fruits God ever imagined. (He even made them heart-shaped, and if that’s not a sign of favoritism, I’d like to know what is.)
A few weeks ago, I was out for my afternoon walk when my neighbor Amanda stopped me and handed over two small glass jars of ruby-red jam. She’d gone strawberry picking with the family, had made a big batch of jam, and wanted to share some. Oh, was it delicious!
While we can’t pick fresh strawberries year-round, thanks to the freezer case at the grocery store, I can indeed have my strawberry fix whenever I like.
One of my favorite baked goods is a simple quick bread, and this one incorporates frozen strawberries. It’s a recipe I found in an old cookbook, but I reduced the oil and still ended up with one of the most moist, delicious quick breads ever. If you love strawberries too, give this recipe a try.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups thawed, sliced frozen strawberries (one 16-ounce bag)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In separate bowl, combine eggs, strawberries and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and combine. Add pecans and blend well. Pour into two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans prepared with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 60-75 minutes, just until bread tests done when a knife or toothpick is inserted in the center. Cool in pan 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely. Yields two loaves of bread.