A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the local town of Davis, CA on behalf of Best Food Facts. I’m their newest blogger for their Taste Program, where they educate about the benefits of fresh food and answer nutritional questions by a panel of experts. It’s a wonderful organization to work with and an excellent tool for those of you who may have questions about certain foods, benefits of eating certain foods, or nutritional questions.
My favorite part of our trip to Davis was visiting the T&Y Strawberry Patch in Woodland, CA. T&Y is a family-owned strawberry patch that’s been in business for years in the Woodland area. They have a huge property that boasts tons of, you guessed it, strawberries! The berries are divided by their type, Chandler, which are grown earlier in the year, and Albion, a newer strain of strawberry, grown right now. The Albion were what we had the chance to pick on the farm.
The most interesting thing I learned from T&Y’s resident tour-guide and strawberry aficionado was that their strawberry farm is prepared for the California drought we’re in. The strawberries are resistant to the heat, especially the Albion strain, and resistant to the drought. T&Y operates on a minimal water drip system which adequately nourishes the strawberry plants without flooding them or wasting precious water resources. Since California’s drought is a serious one (and believe me, we’re suffering) it was interesting to know that T&Y was operating as they normally would, thanks to their drought-efficient watering system.
I was also pleased to know that California produces 80% of the nation’s strawberries. That means the berries you have right now are probably grown here in California. And I totally didn’t know this, but the brighter the color of the strawberry flesh, the sweeter the berry will be. That’s why Albion berries are a huge hit right now; they’re a deep red color that yields a seriously juicy and sweet flavor profile.
And if you’ve ever wondered if there’s a difference between organic or conventional strawberries when it comes to scary things like pesticides, have no fear. The USDA and Best Food Facts say that a man could eat 2,640 strawberries a day without any adverse side effects from pesticide residue. But I also don’t recommend eating 2,640 strawberries a day either, as tempting as it may be 🙂
And strawberries, but of course, were the inspiration for these simple and scrumptious Strawberry Pretzel Salad Parfaits. Have you ever had strawberry pretzel salad? It’s traditionally served like an ambrosia or in bar-form with a pretzel crust, so I took that inspiration to make a layered dessert that’s oh-so delicious. Sweet, salty, juicy and tart, it’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures. You’ll love it!
- 2 bricks (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar, plus 2 Tbsp, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 2 & ½ cups pretzels
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- First, make your crust. Pulse the pretzels in a large food processor until they're coarse crumbs. Pulse in the melted butter and 2 Tbsp white sugar until moistened. Portion evenly among four pint-sized mason jars or parfait glasses and use a smaller glass to compact into a loose-ish crust.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheeses, remaining sugar, and vanilla extract with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined and fluffy. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into a large resealable plastic bag, seal out the air, and snip off a tip of the bag.
- Pipe the cheesecake about halfway full into the jars; sprinkle with about 2-3 Tbsp chopped strawberries. Continue piping the mixture until it reaches the brim of the jar and top with another 2-3 Tbsp of chopped strawberries. Repeat with remaining jars.
- Serve immediately, or store leftovers in the fridge for 1 day.
I love how easy these are to whip up and how amazing they taste! The crunchy, salty pretzel crust pairs beautifully with the juicy, sweet strawberries and the fluffy, creamy cheesecake. These parfaits have so much flavor and awesome texture happening all at once!
Full disclosure: I was generously invited onto a trip to Davis, CA on behalf of Best Food Facts, who graciously sponsored this event. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who help make The Domestic Rebel possible!