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Oh that strawberry!

[caption id="attachment_1274" align="aligncenter" width="537"]Shawny's Strawberry Soup Shawny's Chilled Strawberry Rhubarb Soup[/caption]

What is a member of the rose bush family, on average has 200 seeds, and is shaped like a heart? Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries! It’s June and strawberries are always top of mind. They are the first fruit to ripen on Prince Edward Island in the spring/ summer. For those times where this fruit is not in season, my Island Strawberry Organic Green tea will more than satisfy your craving - it’s like drinking a field of berries!

Lady Baker's Island Strawberry Organic Green tea is a refreshing Sencha blend from the lush highlands of China’s Hunan province.  A bright, pale green to yellow cup, this delicately sweet tea is infused with sun-dried ripened organic strawberries and tropical papaya pieces.  I have added dried strawberries harvested along Prince Edward Island's southern shore, which makes it even fruitier! This tea is light and softly tangy, with a lingering fruity aftertaste.  It makes a lovely thirst-quenching iced tea on a hot summer day. Simply double the amount of loose leaf per cup (2 tsp) and pour on ice when brewed. Green teas are best brewed in less than boiling water –about 85°C.

Shawny's Chilled Strawberry Rhubarb Soup

 Island Strawberry Organic Green is the perfect dessert-style tea with all the elegance of a garden party!  Try pairing this tea with quiche, cream cheese pastries, chocolate croissants, fruit yogurt, macaroni and cheese, or pie.  Consider using Island Strawberry Organic Green in your next strawberry or strawberry-rhubarb pie crust by replacing the water with chilled brewed tea for that extra strawberry taste.  Savoury or sweet, this flavoured green tea will please the palate.

There really isn’t a better marrying of early-season fruits than sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb (although, technically, rhubarb is a vegetable ;-)).  These fruits are most often found inside a pie shell, but we thought we would whirl them together in this chilled soup; creating a vibrant colour and taste sensation!  Serve it as a starter for a summer lunch or supper in place of a salad.

2 cups fresh Strawberries; rinsed, hulled and sliced

1 ½ cups red rhubarb; cut in 1” slices

½ - 1 cup white granulated sugar; to taste

2 cups Lady Baker’s Island Strawberry Organic tea; brewed

1 3” cinnamon stick

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup medium sweet red wine

½ cup Club Soda

½ cup Sour Cream

Fill and boil enough water in kettle to measure 3 cups of water.  After the water has come to a boil, turn off the kettle and allow water to sit for 10 minutes, or boil kettle to 180ºF or 85ºC.  In a 4 cup tea pot or measuring cup, add 1 heaping tablespoon of Lady Baker’s Island Strawberry Organic Green tea and pour 3 cups of standing water over the leaves.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes.  Strain tea directly into a saucepan.  Add the sliced strawberries, rhubarb, ¼ cup of the sugar, salt, and cinnamon stick into the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until fruits are tender; approximately 8 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick and puree soup in a blender.  Taste, as fruits have variable sweetness.  If not to desired sweetness, place puree back in saucepan, reheat and add more sugar until desired sweetness is achieved. Pour soup into a large bowl and stir in lemon juice.  Place in refrigerator until well chilled.

At serving time, stir in wine and club soda; serve chilled (you may also serve reheated). Garnish with strawberries, fresh chopped mint and a dollop of sour cream.  Serves 4.

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