Valley Bounty, June 15: Strawberries
Strawberries are here – welcome summer! Most pick-your-own fields in the Valley are open this weekend. Now is the time to fill your table and your freezer with strawberries. Pick them when the whole berry is bright red, including the tip, for unsurpassed peak-season flavor. Pluck off the stem with your thumb and eat them straight, or try a strawberry salad to meld early summer flavors: top a bowl of fresh greens with halved strawberries, mint and goat cheese.
CISA’s list of strawberry growers and farmstands selling strawberries is here.
Our list of pick-your-own farms is here.
If you’ve got some extra freezer space, freezing strawberries is a great, easy way to extend the strawberry season. Just pinch off the stems between your thumb and forefinger and spread them out on cookie sheets to freeze. Once frozen, put them in a bag in the freezer. If you’d rather put the berries straight in a bag for freezing (if you have a large haul of strawberries, this can be easier) you can still prevent them from sticking together if you take them out a few hours into the freezing process to break up the berry clumps – but it’s important to get the timing just right, or you’ll end up with a solid clump of strawberries. Solid clumps of strawberries aren’t the end of the world – you can still generally break them up with a knife, but it adds some challenge (the up side of this is that it can make the berries last longer into the winter!).
For tips on drying strawberries, see these instructions from the Happy Valley Locavore.
For a truly seasonal dessert, try this recipe for strawberry rhubarb cobbler.
Frozen strawberries make great summer smoothies – put a handful of strawberries in the blender with a generous dollop of yogurt, vanilla or cardamom to taste, and enough water or milk to blend to the desired consistency. Leave it thick if you’d prefer a sorbet. You can add other seasonal fruit if you have any on hand (peaches and mulberries are a good complement to strawberries, as are many other fruits).