Article by Mitch Samples
Strawberries, things that go with them and things we might be cooking at home now are on my mind this week. I have put together a few recipes that you can make to enjoy the season’s opening berry.
First think I want to talk about though is the strawberry itself. Now is the time to buy from your local market and many people like to buy in bulk. There are a few ways to stretch the season throughout the year at your home. First of course there is always the option of jams or jellies. You will find numerous recipes for such online as well as in your favorite cookbook, like Joy of Cooking or canning manual like The Blue Book. Dehydrating is always an option too, just follow the directions for your food dehydrator. Good directions for oven drying methods can be found online as well.
My preferred method of preservation though is freezing. Simply wash the berries, place them on a cookie sheet either cut or whole and place in the freezer until solid. If you cut the berries you may want to line your sheet with wax paper to keep them from sticking. Once they are completely frozen you may transfer them to whatever container you choose and store in the freezer for later use. They will last for up to 6 months in the freezer. Keep in mind they will have a much softer texture when thawed than they did when fresh.
Alternatively, you may puree your berries, place them in a container and freeze the resulting sauce. In this manner they will keep for up to a year and are great for preparing glazes vinaigrettes and even ice cream throughout the year.
One last tip about the berries this time of year is they are sometimes a little bit tart, due to the extended periods of cool weather we are having, so macerating with honey or sugar (method to follow) may improve your experience until we can access berries that have been ripened in the warmth of the sun.
Below you will find recipes for short cake, macerated berries, and strawberry ice cream. Added bonus for us all is strawberries are available from Howell Farms, and Cream and butter are available from Queen B this week at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market.
1 cup sifted whole wheat flour
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
4 Tbs cold butter, cut into about ½ Tbs pieces
½ cup of milk, roughly – see note
Note: Not all flour is created equal and some will be drier than others, you may need to use more or less milk depending on the condition of your flour. The final dough should be soft and a little tacky, but able to hold its shape without flattening.
2 C halved or quartered strawberries
2 T honey, sugar, or port wine
Note: You can use any berry in place of the strawberries
Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream
3 C strawberries
1 ½ C heavy cream
2/3 C sugar or ½ C honey
1 Tbs Vanilla
2 Tbs of Triple Sec or any orange flavored liqueur (orange juice will do in a pinch, but the liqueur makes a better consistency
Note: This is my favorite ice cream recipe because of its ease and end quality. This is really good on the shortcakes too!
If you have any questions, please contact Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here for you.