I looked over the table at Chase Farm filled with pints of gorgeous berries and just took in the aroma. The delicate perfume just made me pause. Without even realizing it, I bent over the fruits and said, "Hello!" I think I was overcome with sensory pleasure.
The woman next to me smiled and leaned in to me.."Sometimes I want to say 'hello' too. They're just so beautiful. Feeling both silly and sweet, I realized that I had connected with another culinary kindred spirit.
With our recent mix of sun and rain, fresh pick strawberries are at their peak this week, so with baskets in tow off to the strawberry fields I went to begin my picking week. After three trips so far, I have nearly 40 pounds of this much loved Spring bounty presently in my new freezer and I'm loving it! U-pick farms are overflowing locally with berries, so be sure to get out their and pick some for yourself! Or surely any farmers market nearby will be offering-- in addition to gazillions of garlic scapes this week, trays of fresh picked strawberries.
Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy them or check out our recipe page for more ideas:
1) The CLASSIC: Cut up a pint of freshly washed fruit and toss with 1/8 cup of granulated sugar and the juice of one lemon. Stir to combine, cover with wrap and chill for two hours. Serve over vanilla bean ice cream.
2) The ITALIAN Kiss: Hull a pint of strawberries and toss with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven until the fruits are soft, but not mushy. Serve as a compote with fresh whipped cream, over ice cream or as a fabulous glaze for grilled meats.
3) The SALAD Maker: Slice berries over your next green salad and serve with a mustardy vinaigrette made from 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 TBLS dijon mustard and 3/4 cup maple syrup. The berries mix beautifully with a peppery blend of greens like arugula, mizuna and spring mix.
4) No strawberry season would be official without making strawberry rhubarb pie around our house.
5) Nor the absence of at least one strawberry trifle, tiramisu or parfaits.
6) And surely at least two quarts of Strawberry Ice Cream is usually in order. :)
7) More Vintage Garden Jellies of course need to be made.. this week it was Strawberry Balsamic Fig with a hint of fresh basil being stirred in my pots.
8) And finally the CHOCOLATE Dipped Strawberry: Melt white or dark chocolate in 30 second intervals in your microwave until smooth. Dip in the fresh picked fruit and set it on waxed paper to firm and harden. Eat as-is or set atop your favorite cake to make an elegant decoration.
It's a gorgeous Sunday out there--grab your baskets and go pick some strawberries!