Mmmmm strawberries! Nothing says summer like a juicy bite out of a gigantic ripe strawberry. The deepest darkest crimson ones are the sweetest, bursting with flavor. Savoring each refreshing berry, it’s hard to think that life could get any better than this.
The boys and I have embraced this season by heading out to some fields in our area and picking our own strawberries. Since we haven’t joined the harvest-it-yourself bandwagon for several years, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would they be bored? Rowdy? Would they turn into little thieves, stuffing their faces with pilfered fruit?Thankfully, after a quick lesson in which berries to pick (big, bright, all-over red) and which ones to leave (small, white, green, rotten) each of the boys dutifully placed the strawberries in their designated buckets. What’s more, I didn’t even have to give a soapbox speech about stealing. Okay, we “taste tested” a few to make sure we were buying quality goods. But, after doing our due diligence, we picked our way past 4 kilos!
Fruit leather. A huge hit in our household, you won’t believe what a cinch this is to make. Simply puree your fruit, spread it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and dehydrate in the oven at the lowest possible setting for 6+ hours. If you must have a recipe, this one’s handy. For thicker, more pliable fruit leather (and a more balanced taste), add 1/2 cup applesauce to your strawberries before pureeing. P.s. – you totally do not need sugar in your fruit leather. You do, however, need to sweeten your syrup (see below).Berry Sorbet. True sorbet isn’t made with dairy, but this particular recipe uses a bit of yogurt to smooth out the texture. Place frozen berries, yogurt, and a few tablespoons of sugar in a food processor. Give it a whirl, and voila! An easy summer dessert that’s good enough for company.
Strawberry Syrup. Another mighty fine condiment, this one is just as easy to whip up as blueberry or chocolate syrup. Boil strawberries, water, and sugar until the berries break down. Blast to bits with a hand mixer. You can either leave the syrup as is or strain it to remove the seeds and pulp. Though I strained the blueberry variety, I decided to leave the strawberry syrup as is. If you need a recipe, here’s a good one.
This sweet & pretty dark pink puree is the base for all sorts of kitchen magic. Allow it to work wonders as a French toast topping or be the star of pink lemonade. Make show-stopping strawberry milkshakes with this syrup and vanilla ice cream.Other ideas… Besides the obvious jam option, toss sliced strawberries into a spinach salad with balsamic and toasted walnuts. Make chocolate-covered strawberries with the biggest ones. Bake a strawberry crumble, or even this amazing no-bake strawberry cheesecake. If you really want to impress, this is the best strawberry cake EVER.
Whatever you do, do it quickly for these sweet red gems don’t last long. Eat, drink, and enjoy because soon the strawberries – and summer – will be gone.
In the mood for blueberries instead? Indulge in a sip of summer with these refreshing summer blueberry drinks!