Strawberry and Pea Salad

From L-R my father, me and my brother.caption]

While growing up in the suburbs, my father decided to develop and maintain a small garden plot. In addition to being a hunter (of most animals), he ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. I think it was his connection to his rural upbringing that drew him to it. He got most excited about growing strawberries. In late spring, he would tell me and my brother that they were about ready to be picked. We would get real excited and go down to the garden to look at them. They were greenish/pinkish in color, which according to dad meant maybe another 2 weeks or so. So, we checked back later and they were gone. Gone! He told us that possibly the rabbits got them or the deer. Sometimes there were feral pigs that roamed the woods behind our house. My brother and I would see them back there every once in a while building forts. Maybe? It was a disappointment and a mystery until my mom told us the truth.. He would just laugh and say that he just couldn’t help himself. Insufferably frustrating at times – that is my father.

These days you can pay a modest fee to pick your own strawberries from fields and they are very popular. If you miss the prime picking times, you can always grow your own. Strawberries are one of the most rewarding crops to grow if you have a small garden. It’s best to pick strawberries yourself from an organic garden as they are on the dirty dozen list. Another crop for small gardens are English peas as they grow vertical.

[caption id="attachment_490" align="alignright" width="300"] Strawberry and Pea Salad

This recipe utilizes both of these plants. I encourage you to not trim too much from your food so as to not create too much waste. Strawberry flower petals, their hulls and crowns are ALL edible. Just wash them well and move forward. If you don’t use them, put them in a compost pile to use in your garden.

Strawberry Dressing

Strawberry and Pea Salad and Strawberry Dressing

If you have strawberry flowers, they make a nice touch. Mint mixed in also makes a nice addition.

2 cups strawberries
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 handful pea sprouts
1 tbsp red vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp water

1. Measure out and thaw your peas, if frozen. Rinse them off and set aside.

2. Begin making your dressing by chopping 1 cup of strawberries and place them in food processor or blender.

3. Add the vinegar and water to the berries. Turn the food processor on for a minute or two, pushing down the pieces towards the blade until the mixture is smooth.

4. Slice the other cup of strawberries in half and place in a medium to large bowl. Add spinach and pea sprouts. Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons of strawberry dressing over salad and gently fold it in.

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