Summer's strawberries are just ripe for the picking

The colorful strawberry seems to be everybody's favorite, and during the season thousands of people visit pike-your-own strawberry operations. They enjoy riding to the countryside, breathing the fresh air as they pick, and returning home with the fruits of their labor.

Pick-your-own operations are making great strides both in this country and in England where Frampton Orchards Ltd. on the south coast has 10,000 to 15,000 pickers on the weeked. Nibblers who eat as they pick can ease their conscience by dropping a donation into a strategically placed bin for charity.

The strawberry is a member of the rose family and if you have ever eaten crushed strawberries in cream, the resulting color may have reminded you of the petals of a wild rose. This is a popular way to prepare them and appeals to those who think the less done to the strawberry, the better. Here are some recipes. Strawberry Parfait Pie 1 9-inch pastry shell, baked 1 package lemon gelatin 1 1/4 cups hot water 1 pint strawberry ice cream 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Dissolve gelatin in the hot water in a 2- quart saucepan. Add ice cream by spoonfuls, stiring until melted. Chill until thickened but not set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Fold in drained strawberries. Turn into cooled pie shell. Chill until firm. Strawberry-Rhubarb Pudding Cake 1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and hulled 1 cup rhubarb, cut in small pieces 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 3/4 cups sugar 3 tablespoons melted vegetable shortening 1/2 cup milk 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup boiling water

Place sliced strawberries and cut up rhubarb in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Add shortening and milk. Mix. Spread over the strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Combine remaining cup sugar with cornstarch and sprinkle over batter in pan. Pour the cup of boiling water over this. Bake at 350 degress F for 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or whipped topping. Serves 6. Strawberry Pancake, Finnish-Style 2 eggs 2 cups milk 1 tablespoon sugar 1 cup flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter

Silt flour with sugar and salt. Beat eggs and add milk. Add flour to egg mixture and beat until smooth. Melt butter in a deep pie dish. Pour batter in lightly and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven. Serve warm cut in wedges or square and topped with sweetened crushed strawberries. Serves 4. Strawberry Torte 1 package honey graham crackers, crushed 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup butter 2 eggs 1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced 1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped

Set aside 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs. Line a 7 by 11-inch pan with the remaining crumbs. Cream butter and sugar and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly. Spread butter mixture over crumbs. Slice strawberries and spread over butter mixture. Spread whipped cream over the strawberries and top with crumbs. Chill 6 to 8 hours. Strawberry-filled French Meringues 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup water 5 eggs whites 1 teaspoon vanilla Strawberries (enough for filling and garnish)

Heat sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking without stirring until the syrup forms a soft ball when tested in cold water, or until temperature reaches 238 degrees F. on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour slowly into stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly. Continue beating until mixture is cool. Add flavoring.

Shape meringues into a ring with a spoon or pastry tube on a dampened board covered with heavy brown paper. Bake in a slow oven at 270 degrees F. for 1 hour or longer, depending on size. Makes 10 to 12.

Fill meringues with fresh strawberries which have been washed and hulled. Reserve 10 or u2 of the most perfect berries, leaving hulls on, for garnish after you have filled meringues and topped them with whipped cream or whipped topping.

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