It’s May in Georgia and fortunately that means fresh strawberries and Vidalia onions.
Unfortunately, these delicacies don’t last long. So to cook with them year-round, let’s take a look at storage options.
Probably the most widely known option for Vidalias is the pantyhose method. Storing them in the legs of clean, sheer pantyhose with a knot tied between each onion will preserve them for about a year. They should be hung in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area.
The method I’m going to try this year for Vidalias and strawberries is to freeze them. According to longtime Vidalia grower Morris Farms, whole onions can be frozen by peeling, washing, coring and then placing them in plastic resealable bags. Freezing changes the onion’s texture, so frozen onions should be used for cooking only.
For strawberries, the freezing method when not adding sugar is to remove stems and caps from whole strawberries, then wash and dry completely. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet so they don’t touch and freeze solid. Once frozen, transfer the berries to resealable bags or airtight containers.
Now we can have Vidalias and local strawberries at our fingertips all year long. Below are two fabulous recipes sure to please your hankering for these tastes of Georgia.
Baked sweet Vidalia onion dip
- 2 cups diced Vidalia onion
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, saute diced onion until soft.
In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and add onion.
Spoon the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake 25 minutes until brown and bubbly.
Serve with Ritz crackers, pita chips or toasted baguette slices.
Strawberry shortcake roll
For the cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10-inch-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place eggs in a large bowl and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until foamy. Add sugar and mix for 2 more minutes until mixture is slightly thickened. Mix in oil, baking powder, salt and vanilla; then add flour and mix slowly just until combined.
Pour into prepared pan. Tap the pan a couple of times on the counter to release bubbles and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until top is slightly browned.
While the cake is baking, lay out a clean kitchen towel onto the counter. Spread with powdered sugar.
Remove the hot cake from the oven and carefully flip the cake onto the towel. Roll up the cake from the short side. The towel will be rolled into the cake. Let cool completely.
For the filling and topping:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups cold heaving whipping cream
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, additional for topping
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and use mixer to beat until smooth and fluffy; add vanilla. Slowly add the whipping cream and turn up mixture to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
Wash and dry the berries; slice three-fourths pound into small pieces and pat dry.
Carefully unroll the cake. Spread some of the whipped cream mixture and top with the chopped strawberries.
Carefully roll the cake back up as tight as possible, unsticking it from the towel as you go. Wrap the cake roll in plastic wrap and chill until ready to top and serve.
To serve, frost with remaining whipped cream and remaining berries.
The cake is best eaten the day it is made because of the fresh berries.
Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at email@example.com.