Valley Bounty: Strawberries

Maybe I’ve just been inundated by distraction lately, or perhaps the fairly recent cold weather (remember that?) had me confused, but I have to admit that summer snuck up on me this year. I think I still had out my sweatshirts when I started noticing cars parked around all the local swimming spots. But it’s hard not to be in a summery state of mind when quarts of bright red strawberries start showing up at farm stands and farmers’ markets. There’s something particularly bucolic about eating fresh strawberries on a hot day.

Since local strawberries are with us for just a short time, it always seems worthwhile to me to break out the canning jars and make the harvest last a little longer. Remove the tops from your berries (poking a straw up through the bottom costs you less of your berry than cutting the top off with a paring knife) and cut them in half; combine with sugar (2 cups per quart of berries) and the zest of a lemon, and simmer on low heat for around 20 minutes. You can play around with the amount of sugar, or add some powdered pectin to thicken the end result.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)