Strawberry Fields Forever: The perfect summer fruit ripe for delicious desserts

Strawberry. (Michael Kaepernick)

Michele Kaepernick offers delicious recipes that can be used with strawberries.

IIs there anything not growing here again at this point? ‘ asked my friend Amy Wise, taking in the range of my back garden. She and her husband will be joining us for dinner on the patio tonight. She hasn’t seen him in a while, and my plants have really grown since her last visit.

“Probably not! But I have something wonderful and new to show you,” I say, driving her across my yard.

Amy has been my friend and neighbor for over 20 years now and it’s always a good sport to go on my garden tours. She knows that this is my happy place, and that from spring to the end of autumn she is likely to find me. It’s my pride and joy, and I love sharing it with people.

People are always surprised to find that my garden pots are filled only with things to eat or cook with, and there is nothing floral for the vase. That’s because the only flowers I care about are the little ones that eventually mature into a tomato, pepper or eggplant one day. It’s never too old to see a vegetable sprout from what was once a small sprout.

I grow a variety of herbs and vegetables and take pride in the fact that my landscapes are mostly edible. I experiment every year by trying new things, and this year is no exception. I have a new type of eggplant, a mix of hot peppers and a lovely assortment of heirloom tomatoes. I water them, nest and feed them, and desire the presence of their offspring, until they are ready to harvest. It is so amazing to collect ingredients for dinner that is bought from your own patio.

I go to the park crazy every summer, but this year my enthusiasm has reached whole new levels. I owe it to planting my first sweet fruit, the strawberry, which are now shiny new gems in my backyard. “Isn’t it wonderful?” Amy asked, moving over some sheets so she can get a better view. She agrees, and she teases me about the proud parent figure I use to show. Just for that, stop it to properly recognize the new Anaheim pepper on our way back to the table.

I am learning a lot from this new plant. I enjoy watching the blush-colored flowers turn into little strawberry buttons. I will never be Shahi Ariel, the Israeli strawberry grower who currently holds the Guinness World Record, but I have a feeling we look at the fruits of our labor with the same passion. Its strawberry was confirmed and registered in February of 2022 as the heaviest strawberry ever. It encourages me to know that the pale green and pink seeds on the vines have a lot of potential in them. I must believe that if an Israeli farmer in the central district of Kadima Zoran manages to grow 289 grams of strawberries on his family farm, then there is hope for me too. A girl can dream.

Versatile fruit

Although I am trying it for the first time, strawberries have been grown all over the world for centuries, starting in France in the 14th century. Today, they are available in grocery stores year-round, and seasonal if you grow them or buy them at farmers markets. Different varieties are ready to harvest at different times throughout the season. Some have fruit in early June, others later in the fall, and another type produces berries all summer. As a chef, I have no shortage of ideas about what I plan to do with them.

They are best au naturel, burst red, and are still warm from the sun. Its sweet scent lets you know it’s ripe, making it impossible to ignore. Another simple way to enjoy it is in a bowl with cream. This classic dish, strawberry and cream, appeared at Wimbledon in 1877 and is still served at the tournament today.

Strawberries can be blended into fruit smoothies, added to salads, or made into desserts and jams. They are easy to dry on low heat in the oven cut into slices on a tray, which extends their shelf life. Dried strawberries are a quick and delicious snack, or they can be reconstituted into cereal, ice cream, oatmeal, or pancakes. Roasting at higher temperatures concentrates the sugars, softens its texture, and creates a sweet-and-spicy topping for vanilla ice cream.

To make room for dessert, we moved the dinner plates aside. Tonight I dazzled myself by making strawberry scones with some store-bought strawberries, whipped cream and a sprig of mint outside. Presenting this course as our last one feels special, knowing that the hand I have is in a growing part of it. I smile, pass the tray around the table, and try to decide what I was happy about on this fine night: being able to include some of my new backyard reward or the fun of sharing it with these good friends.

short strawberry cake

Ingredients

  • 4 pre-made cakes or angel food cakes
  • spiced strawberry
  • whipping cream
  • mint sprig (optional)

directione

Cut the cake horizontally. Top the bottom halves with equal amounts of whipped cream and strawberries. Place the remaining half on top and garnish with whipped cream, strawberries and a mint sprig.
Serves 4.

spiced strawberry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ripe strawberries, topless, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice

directione

Put the strawberry slices in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice and stir until covered. Leave it for several hours or overnight so that the berries release their juice. Enjoy alone or as a fruit wrap. Serves 4-6.

whipped cream

Ingredients

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Half a cup of sifted sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

directione

Put the whipping cream in a bowl. Start beating vigorously with a whisk, hand, or stand mixer until it starts to thicken. Stop adding powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep beating until firm peaks form. Use immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Mix with the paddle to re-incorporate the cream before use. Makes about 2 cups.

roasted strawberry (adapted from seriouseats.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds strawberries, topless, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • mint sprig (optional)

directione

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9″ x 13″ glass dish with nonstick vegetable spray. Put the strawberries in the pan, add sugar, lemon and vanilla. Mix until well covered and bake for 30 minutes until slightly softened, stirring once halfway through. We take it out of the oven and cool a little. Serve warm over ice cream garnished with fresh mint. Makes about 3 cups.

Strawberry and cream:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ripe strawberries
  • Textures heavy whipping cream

directione

Wash the strawberries and remove the greens. Place whole or chopped strawberries in a serving bowl. Sprinkle the desired amount of whipping cream over the fruit.
Her feet are cold.

Storage Tips

To secure excellent berries, it is best to choose fruit grown during the current harvest.

Look for sweet-smelling berries by testing them with your nose. It should be firm, bright, and free of bruises or mold, with healthy greens on top.

Keep strawberries whole. Do not wash until ready to use.

To store in the refrigerator, place them apart, green down, on a sheet tray lined with paper towels and covered with saran wrap.

For the freezer, remove the greens, rinse them with water, and dry them completely. Freeze the fruit in individual layers before storing them together.

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