Sweet and Seasonal: Strawberries All Summer Long
In most of the U.S., strawberries are an early- to late-spring crop. But some growers also plant “everbearing” varieties that produce fruit well into summer. Those secondary crops are beginning to show up in farmers’ markets now. (Of course, you’ll find strawberries from Mexico, Florida and California in grocery stores nearly year-round.)
If you’re fortunate enough to find these sweet red beauties in your local markets, then you’ll want to find special ways to enjoy them, while they last.
Simple, Sweet Strawberry Desserts
Local berries are so flavorful, they don’t take much preparation. Barely adulterated, strawberries make a perfectly healthy dessert. The simplest trick is to toss a pint of halved strawberries with a pinch of sugar and a splash of Cointreau or Amaretto, or to marinate them in a fruity white wine. Serve these “tipsy berries” with a spoonful of vanilla lowfat yogurt.
When you have access to great fruit, you want to maximize that intense flavor. Strawberry ice cream is wonderful, but a sorbet brings out the berries’ full essence. This strawberry sorbet recipe adds mint for a pop of flavor.
On the Savory Side
Strawberries don’t have to end a meal; they work beautifully in salads, as well. You’ve probably had strawberries in a spinach salad, but there are also more inventive options: Combine strawberries and cherry tomatoes with basil and a white-balsamic vinaigrette. Or replace the traditional tomatoes with in a caprese-like salad of strawberries with burrata cheese and basil. Substitute fresh mozzarella if you can’t find its creamier cousin, burrata. For a fresh take on party fare, mix sweet and heat in a salsa of strawberries and avocado with tortilla chips.
Preserving the Bounty
Got a glut of berries on your hands? Not a problem—strawberries freeze well (topping your morning granola with frozen summer strawberries in January = bliss). If you’re among the growing group of canning aficionados, homemade strawberry jam is a must. Strawberry syrup is great on pancakes or ice cream, and it keeps well in the fridge.
Are you a sucker for strawberries? Tell us how you’re taking strawberries out of the pie shell and onto the plate in interesting ways.
About the Author
Bryn Mooth is a food writer focused on eating locally, cooking simply and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. She writes the Midwest-based food blog Writes4Food.com, which shares recipes, kitchen wisdom and explores regional foods and producers. Find her on Twitter @writes4food.
Photo by Kim Miller
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