A native American fruit, strawberries are were known as "heart berries" by the tribes that harvested them. In Thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, the first full moon in June became known as the Strawberry Moon by many Native American tribes.
Strawberries are known as the fruit of forgiveness, kindness and respect. Cherokee folklore says that the First Woman and First Man were angry with each other and harsh words were said. The First Woman said she was leaving and began to quickly walk away. Regretful for his anger, The First Man began to follow her, but the First Woman was walking too quickly. He appealed for help from the Creator to slow her down. The Creator hearing his plea and recognizing his remorse, placed a variety of different berries along the way, but she didn't slow down. So the Creator went to his garden and picked up some strawberry plants and placed them in front of the First Woman. The strawberries were so beautiful, that the First Woman had to stop and try them. Forgetting her anger, she began picking berries and began to wish for her husband. Turning around she began walking towards home. The First Man hurrying after his wife, was surprised and delighted to see her returning. Smiling, the First Woman shared a beautiful red strawberry with her husband. The First Man gave thanks to the Creator for helping him. The strawberries reunited the First Man and First Woman and remind us to be kind, loving and forgiving.
Corn was staple food among Native American tribes and during the strawberry harvest, the delicious berries would be added to the batter. One way the Iroquois tribe made cornbread was to make up a corn meal and boiling water batter and add strawberries. Then they would shape loaves and boil them in water until they were done.
The strawberries and corn have been abundant at my local vegetable stand this season. I wanted to create a recipe that would celebrate both of them and our Native American heritage. This recipe is gluten and dairy free, then sweetened with agave syrup rather than sugar.
The strawberry cornbread muffins are delightful served for breakfast. Served with a dollop of lemon curd and a hot cup of Rooibos tea, they are a fabulous way to start the day.
Would you like to participate in the Gluten Free Bread Baking Bonanza in honor of the World Day of Bread and National Celiac Awareness Month? What you need to do is bake a bread, take a picture and send your blog link to gluten a go go at gmail dot com. by October 1st. I'll post a round up of all bread recipes several days later. Happy Baking!
1 1/4 cup cornmeal 3/4 cup + 2 Tb corn flour 2/3 cup + 2 Tb brown rice flour 2/3 cup sweet rice flour 1/3 cup almond meal 1/4 cup arrowroot starch 4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 2 tsp kudzu powder, dissolved in coconut milk & water 2/3 cup coconut milk 1 1/3 cup water 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1/2 cup agave syrup 1 cup strawberries, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and on a cookie sheet set out 24 silicone muffin cups or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a large measuring cup (4 cup), dump in the coconut milk and water. Stir to blend and use the spoon to break up any solid pieces from the coconut milk. Then add the kudzu powder and stir. Allow the mixture to sit and allow the kudzu to soften.
3. In a large bowl, place the first eight ingredients and stir together. Then add the vegetable shortening. Working the vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients until small crumbs form.
4. Stir the coconut milk, water and kudzu blend. Make sure the kudzu powder has dissolved into the liquid and there aren't any lumps left. Then pour in the eggs and agave syrup. Gently stir the liquids together.
5. Slowly add the liquid mixture in the large measuring cup to the flour blend in the large mixing bowl. Stir the mixture together. Then fold in the chopped strawberries. (Note: If you would like to have some plain cornbread muffins, make the recipe and don't add the strawberries. Pour the cornbread batter into 12 muffin cups. Then add the chopped strawberries to the remaining batter and then follow the rest of the recipe.)
6. Using a small measuring cup, scoop out the corn bread batter and dump into the muffin cups. Fill the cups until they are 2/3rds full.
7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 27 minutes. Makes 24 cornbread muffins.
What did my family think about the muffins? My children voted for the plain cornbread muffins as they weren't crazy about the flavor of cooked strawberries. My husband and I thought they were fabulous. What a tasty way to start the day.