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What to do with less-than-perfect strawberries: Make quick bread

Recipe: Strawberry quick bread with walnuts

Strawberries and walnuts give this quick bread its flavor.

Strawberries and walnuts give this quick bread its flavor. Debbie Arrington

Fresh strawberries can be beautiful one day and not so pretty the next.

Turn those less than perfect strawberries into something yummy: Strawberry quick bread.

This versatile and easy bread can brighten breakfast, provide afternoon snacks or (with a little whipped cream) become a simple dessert. Bits of strawberry are in every bite.

Fresh strawberries offer the most flavor, but this recipe can be made with previously frozen (and drained) strawberries, too.

Strawberry quick bread

Makes 1 loaf (about 12 servings)

Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries, pureed or mashed

1 tablespoon sugar

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Puree or mash 1 cup strawberries (about 12 large berries). Add 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, 1 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

strawberry-bread-loaf.jpg
This is an easy bread to make for dessert or snacks.

In another bowl, combine strawberries with oil and beaten eggs. Add strawberry mixture to dry ingredients and blend just until moist. Fold in chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let it continue to cool at least another 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm or room temperature.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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