Ah, it has finally happened. After a winter that felt way too long, and a spring where winter coats were kept on retainer, strawberries finally appeared Saturday at our local farmer's market. Those beautiful red, fragrant and delicious signs that summer is almost here. I could smell them before I could see them. Delicious. I was so excited, and weary of more greens, I spent my entire budget on three flats of strawberries and immediately came home to excited yelps from my two year old who started digging in. Finally, a strawberry worth eating! As I was lamenting to someone a few days before about how long it was taking for the strawberries to get ripe this year, they commented that they have been buying good strawberries at our local big box store. You can get passable strawberries at those stores, and if you have no other option, I say go for it. But if you can wait for those locally grown strawberries, picked just that morning, those strawberries that are so fragile, fragrant and wonderful that their mere existence is temporal and limited to that day, then wait for them. I spent the rest of the afternoon happily canning most of the strawberries into strawberry pineapple jam, strawberry jam, and strawberry topping, imagining myself remembering this happiness of summer as I spread the jam on toast in the dead of next winter. Be sure to save some of these beauties for the next few recipes though. Strawberries are only at their best a few weeks of the year, enjoy them while you can in all their glory.
Strawberry and Tomato Salad by Joie de Vivre
Time: 10 minutes tops if you're a very slow chopper
White Balsamic Vinegar
Take the tops off of the strawberries and slice into quarters or halves. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Mix all in a bowl and sprinkle on the white balsamic vinegar. Slurp up and enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet adapted from Cuisinart Ice cream maker instruction manual
Preparation: 1 1/2 hours (active: about 15-20 minutes; 25 - 30 minutes chilling time; optional 2 hours to "ripen" in the freezer)
Makes about 10 1/2 cup servings
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 quart fresh strawberries, stems removed
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer without stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
Combine the strawberries and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to shop the strawberries, then process until the strawberries are completely pureed. Combine the strawberry puree with the cooled sugar syrup and corn syrup. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Turn your ice cream machine on, pour strawberry puree mixture into freezer bowl and mix until thickened, about 25 - 30 minutes. The sorbet will have a "soft serve" texture. If desired, transfer the strawberry sorbet to an airtight container and place in freezer until firm, about 2 hours.
Nutritional analysis per serving:
Calories: 96, Fat 0g.
My Easy Strawberry Pie by Joie de vivre
Time 30 minutes
Pie crust (either homemade or refrigerated)
A quart of strawberries or more depending on how thick you want your pie to be.
1/2 cup "red" jam (I use my homemade cherry marmalade)
Put your crust in a pie pan, prick with a fork all over and bake according to directions. Heat 1/2 cup jam over medium heat until melted. Fill pie shell with whole, halved or quartered strawberries and pour jam over the top. Chill until cold. Cut into wedges and serve!