This California girl has sure fallen in love with Florida strawberries. I never realized until recently that they are far superior to the ones I grew up eating in California. Since living in Tampa, I have been blessed twice with the opportunity to go strawberry picking. Not only was it fun and something that my kids really enjoyed, it has taught me to really appreciate all that our farmers do to bring us fresh produce to the local markets.
Now that I am in my 40’s, I have really been focusing on eating healthy as much as I can. I used to take good health for granted, but as I have been reading up more on health and nutrition, I am realizing now more than ever that everything we put in our mouth can affect us. When shopping for the week, I opt for more fresh produce and lean meats over processed foods. There are so many health benefits to eating strawberries. One of my favorite strawberry educational websites is the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, as it is filled with tons of useful information and healthy recipes. In fact, research by the USDA indicates that strawberries may help fight cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. How cool is that? In addition, they are low in calories (about 45 per serving) and high in ellagic acid, which is believed to help reduce the risk of cancer. Just those facts alone make me love those gorgeous red berries even more.
Right after Thanksgiving, I was invited by a local restaurant in Tampa to head out to Plant City and go strawberry picking. It was a glorious afternoon filled with education, nature and lots of strawberry inspired recipes. That day was a turning point for me and as I was having a strawberry picking competition with friends, I suddenly became obsessed with learning as much about the Florida Strawberry industry as I can. I left for home thinking about the strawberry season here in Tampa and all of the magic that I can create in the kitchen.
Some of my fondest memories of my beloved home state of California involve food. While brainstorming ideas for recipes, I began to jot down some of my favorite meals of all time. One salad that always comes to mine is a Panzanella Salad that I fell in love with back in 1995. I was twenty at the time and working at one of the best restaurants in my hospitality career. For whatever reason, this salad was life changing and I can still taste it today. If you are not familiar, a Panzanella Salad is of Tuscan origin and consists of a base of bread and tomatoes. It is essentially made with chunks of stale bread that are soaked in olive oil and seasonings then tossed with fresh tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and basil. It is a great way to use day old bread and has always been a favorite side to accompany summer dishes on the grill. I decided to recreate this favorite using fresh Florida strawberries in place of tomatoes, Feta, spinach, red onions and bread. The result is a stunning salad that will dazzle the palate and pairs so well with everything from a nice Ribeye to grilled chicken and burgers. I am so proud of my recipe and can’t wait for you to try it and give me your feedback.
Once you try a Florida strawberry, you will be hooked. Available from November through April, be sure to look for them at your local market or produce vendor. If you do not see Florida strawberries, be sure to ask as they can always get them in stock for you.
To learn more about Florida Strawberries, get social with them on the following channels:
I know a lot of my followers on social media have been drooling over my gorgeous photos of strawberries and the beautiful Florida scenery. Well guess what? You might be able to come and experience Florida life with you family by winning a Florida getaway. All you have to do is show some strawberry love by sharing your best strawberry pictures. Simply use #FLStrawberryCap Contest to tag your photo, get a free Florida Strawberry cap and be entered to win a trip to the Sunshine State! Click here to enter > Florida Strawberry Cap Contest. By clicking that link you can see all of the other entries for some berry creative inspiration. **Click here to read the > Official Rules.
Finally, don’t forget to join us LIVE on Twitter this Sunday, January 15th, 2017 at 7 p.m. ET to chat about all the Florida strawberry things. We’ll be tweeting LIVE from RumFish Grill at the Guy Harvey Outpost in St. Pete Beach, FL. I hope to tweet with you then!
- 1 day-old baguette, sliced into cubes
- 5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 pint of strawberries, sliced
- 1 cucumber, sliced into wheels or wedges (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
- 3 Cups Spinach Leaves
- 1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta
- 1 Medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
- Sea Salt & Pepper
- In a large salad bowl, add strawberries, cucumber slices, spinach leaves and red onion slices. Set Aside.
- In a skillet, heat 2 tbs of olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the bread cubes and lightly grill until golden brown.
- Once the bread cubes are done, immediately add them to the rest of the ingredients in the salad bowl and add remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Feta.
- Toss all ingredients until well combined, add freshly ground salt and pepper, serve immediately.
It is my distinct pleasure to share the other Florida Strawberry recipes from a wonderful group of talented bloggers. I look forward to breaking bread with them tonight at Rum Fish Grill on beautiful St. Pete Beach for our LIVE twitter chat. Their recipes are all sure to make your mouth water and are a great way to incorporate Florida Strawberries into part of your healthy eating regime.
- Balsamic & Brown Sugar Strawberry Canapés by My Sweet Zepol
- Fresh Mozzarella Strawberry Flatbread by Family Foodie
- Slow Cooker Strawberry Foccaccio by Healing Tomato
- Strawberry Avocado Crostini by Beauty and the Beets
- Strawberry Mango Salsa with Whole Wheat Cinnamon Chips by Meghan On The Move
- Feta and Strawberry Tabouleh Salad by Sunday Supper Movement
- Strawberry Caprese Salad with Balsamic and Mint by Authentically Candace
- Strawberry Panzanella Salad by Eat, Drink and be Tracy
- Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Butternut Squash and Strawberry Sauce by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Pork Chops with Balsamic-Strawberry Sauce by Life Tastes Good
- Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken by Katie’s Cucina
- Strawberry Pesto Chicken by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Strawberry Salad with Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette by Family Around The Table
- Lightened-Up Strawberry Mille-Feuille by Girl Abroad
- Roasted Strawberry Pavlova with Lemon Cream by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Strawberries Romanoff by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Strawberry Buttermilk Cake by Cricket’s Confections
- Strawberry Pound Cake Kabobs With Chocolate Drizzle by My Sweet Savings
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.