Monday, June 9, 2008

An Old Favorite a New Way: The Triple Dog Dare Challenge

This month, Toontz of Okara Mountain issued a challenge to the cooking community. Realizing that there are some foods that she has no experience with simply because she's never thought to try them, she issued the Triple Dog Dare to challenge us to try a new kind of fruit along with her sometime during the month of June. Being a huge fan of fresh fruits and vegetables, I wanted to participate.

On my next trip to the grocery store, I ran into a slight snag. Because I love fruit, there isn't much fruit that's easily available that I haven't both tried and enjoyed. Anything more exotic is out of our price range, so I had to get a little creative with the terms of participation on this challenge. While browsing the bulk foods section of the local natural foods store, I decided to try out some dried strawberries. I adore fresh strawberries, but I have never run into their dessicated counterparts much before.

The dried strawberries found their way into one of my bento lunches this week. I felt a little nervous -- the berries did not look appetizing in the least, but instead were shriveled and sticky and a rather morose brown instead of fresh strawberries' vibrant crimson. Still, I ate one. And then another. And then . . . well you get the idea. Dried strawberries are pretty good! Not as good as the fresh incarnation, of course, but still enjoyable by their own right. They tasted tangy and sweet, and not at all like the little turds they unfortunately look like. I did care much for how the crunchy seeds lodged in my teeth, but that's a hazard in eating any strawberry, dried or otherwise.

My verdict? Dessicated strawberries get a thumb's up in my book, and I'll definitely eat them again. Many thanks to Toontz for expanding my fruit horizons in such a fun way!

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King