Happy National Strawberry Day

Where do strawberries come from?

Many people don’t know that Strawberries aren’t actually berries at all. They come from the rose family and the seeds on the out side of them are the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside each one. Strawberries are one of the only fruits that can be grown in every state and they are one of the first fruits to ripen in the Spring. There are over 600 varieties to choose from. A Smaller strawberry has more flavor and a larger strawberry is watery and not as sweet.

My kids and I love a bowl of this vanilla yogurt topped with granola and fresh strawberries

Growing Strawberries

I grew up on a small family farm where we grew every fruit and veggie under the sun and I’d like to share a few tips I learned along the way. Strawberries are really easy to grow but hard to kill though in the winter you’ll want to bury your plants under a small pile of straw to protect them. Then rake off the straw in the spring when the plants show new growth. You can generally expect full grown fruit within a few months, depending on the season. Just be sure to pick them when they have fully ripened because they will not ripen any further, like other fruits, once they are plucked.

Strawberry Yogurt with fresh strawberries

Cleaning and Storing Strawberries

Once you have picked them be sure to store them in a moisture proof container. If you wash them first, be sure to store them in a vented container so they can stay dry. They grow mold very quickly and will go bad even quicker the more moisture they accumulate. So don’t stack to many on top of each other either because they bruise easily, which also speeds up the turning point.

Some people get technical with hulling their strawberries but it’s not really that complicated. Just pull off the stem or cut it with a paring knife. If you cut it on an angle and circle around just the white tip it will pop right out and you’ll save more of the delicious fruit. Strawberries also freeze well and will last for several months in a zip lock bag.

PMGK’s Berry Syrup is to die for

What to do with your Strawberries

By now you may be wondering what recipes you can use these yummy Strawberries for. I love them fresh all by themselves. My kids will put them in a bowl with yogurt and granola. They ask for this often as an after school snack. The girls and I will put them in our morning smoothies. We always make sure to have bag of frozen berries in the freezer just for this. I saved the best for last. PMGK has the most wonderful berry syrup recipe that we use strawberries for and it is my favorite to put over pancakes or waffles.

Dragon Fruit – what does it look like on the inside

Dragon Fruit is Amazing

I always describe Dragon Fruit as, “The Cookies and Cream” fruit, though, it has the texture of a Kiwi, it looks just like ice cream when you split them open.  They grow like flowers on Cacti plants in Mexico and are known as Pitaya or Pitahaya.  They are also cultivated in Southeast Asia, the United States, Israel, Australia, Cyprus and the Canary Islands.

Where to find Dragon Fruit

I found Dragon Fruit at my local Oriental Market.  I bought the last two they had and I paid $1.98 a pound.  I think, between the two, they weighed about 1 1/2 pounds is all.  So they really didn’t cost me that much.  But people have told me that these can be ridiculously priced in standard grocery markets.  I’ve heard upwards of even $8 dollars a piece; which is crazy but if you can find them at lower price, I highly recommend you try one.  I like to squeeze lime juice over the top of mine.  So if you find them, pic up a lime or two for a little extra seasoning because the Dragon fruit tastes like a mild Kiwi.

Other Recipes like Dragon Fruit

I’ve got a ton of Asian food recipes if you search the categories panel under Chinese or Japanese Food.  I’ve also got a few fruits and vegetable videos listed here that you might be interested in, like my, How to cut a Pineapple, Japanese Cold Cucumber and my How to cook an Artichoke.  Other than that, thanks for watching and I hope you enjoy this Dragon Fruit Video.

How to cut a Pineapple

I know… It’s just a Pineapple!

The Pina Colada Recipe I did the other day made me realize that it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to whip a quick “How to” slice and dice a Pineapple.  Well that and the fact that even my own mother doesn’t know how to do it either.  Also I was noticing the price difference between a whole fresh Pineapple vs. already sliced Pineapple.  The fresh whole Pineapple I could purchase for $2.98 ea., but the pre-cut Pineapple was twice that price for about 2/3 of a entire Pineapple. So what would you do?  That’s what I thought… let’s learn how easy it is to rip one of these fruits to shreds, shall we?


First, how do we pickem’?

Pineapple have 4 easy signs to look for:
  1. Look for a bright green fern growing out of the top of that fruit.  If it’s dead or drying out, it probably isn’t the healthiest or the most nutrient.
  2. A bright green and yellow fruit means it needs more ripening.  So unless you’re purposefully buying your pineapple days in advance you are going to have a sour and bitter fruit.  Look for less green and feel that the outside is susceptible to pressure when you squeeze it.
  3. Smell the Pineapple.  If it smells sweet and fresh before you cut into it,  the way a pineapple should, then it’s probably ripe.
  4. Something most people won’t tell you or condone, but if you look at the very center of the bottom of the pineapple and see a tiny amount of white peach fuzz like mold, it is ripe and ready to cut now!

Tip: If you flip the Pineapple upside down 12 to 24 hours in advance and let gravity work in your favor, you will have a sweeter Pineapple all the way through the fruit.  Trust me.