Strawberry pie. Strawberry shortcake. Strawberry salad. Strawberry lemonade. Rhubarb strawberry compote. This is just the beginning of strawberry season, and all I can greedily think of are the the crazy delicious strawberry dishes coming our way.
It almost feels as if it was worth the winter wait to enjoy fresh, sweet strawberries. I mean, we could visit Japan in mid-winter to have a taste of their specially-ripened Bijin-Hime (“Beautiful Princess”) strawberries – if we wanted to spend crazy amounts of money for strawberries. Those strawberries can cost $500 each. They can be quite large – almost the size of a baseball. A Japanese strawberry farmer, Mikio Okuda grows these strawberries: https://strawberryplants.org/japanese-strawberry-growing-secrets/
In Japan, enormous wintertime strawberries are grown in kerosene-heated greenhouses, and sold for $5 and $6 a piece. And while it would be nice to enjoy such a treat, I think I’d rather crawl around the local You-Pick-It farm, and scramble with the eager kids for a bucket of my own sweet, just-picked May strawberries.
I never do anything fancy with strawberries. How can you improve upon perfection? Last weekend I baked some back-of-the-Bisquick-box strawberry shortcakes, and whipped up a bowl of diaphanous cream. Added a little sugar. Voilà. Who could ask for anything more? I think for this weekend I am going to try Martha’s Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes – they will be prettier than my dropped (yet so amoeba-like) shortcakes.
Martha’s cupcakes: https://food52.com/recipes/21857-strawberry-shortcake-cupcakes
We’ve been experimenting with different kinds bruschetta – sweet and savory. Initially we made bruschetta when we had casual dinners with friends, and needed finger food that was easily transportable. And yet I consistently brought bruschetta, which would tip over in the car, or end disastrously in someone’s lap; chopped tomatoes and fragments of feta cheese ruining a Lilly Pulitzer. Now we are wise, and spread the garlic-rubbed toasted baguette with thick schmears of creamy burrata, topped with soft, roasted cherry tomatoes.
Garlic-y bruschetta: https://dishingouthealth.com/burrata-bruschetta/
Except when we make Strawberry Bruschetta: https://www.tastingtable.com/765660/strawberry-bruschetta-recipe/
Strawberries are sweet enough on their own, but they are always enhanced with a little cream and a pinch of sugar. A handful of sliced strawberries scattered over your morning bowl of muesli is the easiest treat; sticks and bark never tasted better. I like strawberries, homemade granola and some vanilla yogurt as a morning pick-me-up. After dinner, sitting on the back porch, neglecting the evening news, is perfect time for strawberries on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Although it is not finger food, a strawberry pie is a nice dish to bring to a gathering: https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a35917337/easy-strawberry-pie/
If you’ve gone overboard with You-Pick-It strawberries, here is a catalogue of recipes to make sure you use up every sweet, gem-like strawberry: https://www.foodandwine.com/fruits/berries/strawberry/30-days-strawberry-recipes
And don’t forget the cocktail hour! Pretend you are on an expense account getaway, sitting by a pool, lathered in sunscreen: https://www.thespruceeats.com/strawberry-daiquiri-recipes-759821
Here is a list of Maryland strawberry festivals – check it carefully as some of the events may have been discontinued: https://www.pickyourown.org/strawberryfestivals-Maryland.php
“She has a laugh so hearty it knocks the whipped cream off an order of strawberry shortcake on a table fifty feet away.”
– Damon Runyon
Letters to Editor
Susan Baker says
I remember my young daughter, blond wispy curls, bright eyed and smiling a sweet strawberry smeared smile exclaiming, ” Mom! I’m picking strawberries ALL the way to China!” Sweetest memories!