Anyone following me on twitter or facebook knows that I just picked 40 pounds of strawberries with my family. Oregon strawberries are amazingly sweet and we freeze them for smoothies and top french toast with them, which are great for kids for breakfast. I make a fresh strawberry pie as part of the deal for picking all those strawberries. There is nothing more amazing than fresh strawberry pie, in my opinion. I’ve included my recipe here for Oregon strawberry pie at the end of this post…for those of you that have asked for it.
BUT, the point in me talking about local strawberries, well local produce in general, is because I am a firm believer in trying to have your food source be as close to you as possible. I think it is important for kids to see that food doesn’t come out of a box, but rather can be made. Kids need to learn this in order to start good eating habits, in my opinion. It appears that there are many other Oregonians that strongly believe in good eating habits for our kids.
Truth for America’s Health came out with the annual study of obesity. Oregon ranked 51st in the nation for obesity…meaning that we have the fewest number of kids that are obese in Oregon. 9.6% of our Oregon kids are obese. Compare that with the number 1 obese state of Mississippi where 21.9% of kids are already obese. Remember this isn’t about being overweight, but the medical definition for obesity which is pretty serious. I just wanted to say great job to all the Oregon parents out there that make your kids eat broccoli and force them away from the TV to enjoy what Oregon has to offer.
So get out there. Go pick some fresh fruit with your kids. Go visit one of the local swimming holes over the summer, and keep our kids healthy. Fewest obese kids? Let’s keep it that way. This is one ranking chart where Oregon wants to stay dead last.
For those of you that haven’t been berry picking we have tons of local places to go that have amazing fruit. My tip…just go early in the morning before it gets too hot. Here is my strawberry pie recipe for those of you that asked for it.
Melina’s Fresh Strawberry Pie
I use Emeril Lagasse’s shortbread pie crust, which I think is amazing. If you need gluten free, then you need to buy Gluten Free Baking Classics which has a great pie crust recipe.
Shortbread Pie Crust:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and blend to make a paste. Add the yolk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour and using your fingers, blend to make a crumbly dough, being careful not to overwork. Pat firmly into a 9-inch pie pan and let rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place a sheet of parchment or foil in the pie tin and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice and blind bake the crust in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until light golden brown.
For the pie:
- 1 1/4 Whipping Cream
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 T sugar plus 3/4-1 cup sugar
- 2 -3 pints of Oregon strawberries (Hoods work great)
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup water
- Whip 1/4 cup of real whipped cream. Add 3 ounces of cream cheese, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and whip until blended. Spread this on the cooled crust. Put this in the refrigerator while you make the berry topping.
- Take one pint of Oregon strawberries and mash them. Add them to a medium pot and add the sugar. You will want to add 1/2-3/4 of a cup of sugar. Taste your berries first. If they are a bit tart, add 3/4 of a cup. If they are sweet add only 1/2 a cup. This pie is supposed to taste fresh, not sweet. Bring this to a boil, stirring often.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together to blend, then gradually add this mixture to the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer the berries until it is thickened, which takes 5-10 minutes or so. Don’t forget to stir the berry mix.
- While the berries are simmering, put the rest of the strawberries on the pie (on top of the cream cheese layer). If they are large you might want to cut them into two smaller pieces, but I tend to use Hood strawberries which are smaller to begin with. You want the pie to be full with strawberries, but you need gaps for the sauce to flow into so don’t pack it too full.
- After the hot berry mix has thickened, pour it on top of the berries. Then refrigerate for a few hours for it to gel.
- Right before serving take one cup of whipping cream and add 1/4 cup of sugar. Whip it until it forms peaks. Serve each piece of pie with a dollap of fresh whipped cream.