Some farms will be advertising "pick your own" strawberries, or locally grown species may be available in your stores. These are almost always preferable in taste to the commercially-grown berries, but you need to eat or process them quickly. I have found that strawberries can very quickly make your car, or fridge, or kitchen smell like the inside of a dumpster! Commercial varieties can really be dicey in terms of quality. Sometimes they are rock hard, white inside, and flavorless. Other times, they are amazingly good. Examine closely for color and perceived freshness but as Jerry Seinfeld said, "Fruit is a gamble, I know that going in."
I find that from Mid-May through June, I crave, crave, crave berries of all sorts. They seem to satisfy a dual need for sweetness and juiciness. I think it is the dryness of our winter homes and diets that make our bodies cry out for something sumptuous. Even though our berries of today don't resemble the native species, they are still a great new age paleo food that provides a high fiber, highly nutritive, low sugar fruit.
So enjoy these strawberry-themed ideas to coincide with the summer solstice.
- Strawberries and cream were being enjoyed by English royalty as early as the 16th century (and perhaps why it is still popular/traditional at Wimbledon today). If you don't eat dairy, you could substitute coconut milk.
- Strawberries and yogurt are also nice, a drizzle of honey and Greek yogurt work great. Vanilla yogurt also blends nicely.
- Don't forget frozen strawberries (which are often remarkably good) for smoothies (no sense wasting fresh berries). They can be blended with vanilla or chocolate protein powder, a banana can be added for flavor and sweetness. I don't recommend mixing strawberries and kale in a smoothie (though I see lots of recipes that do). Why? Sludge colored smoothie! Not appetizing and I believe food should feed the vision as well as the taste buds.
- A high quality, no sugar added strawberry jam is a nice treat too.
- Strawberries can be halved, mixed with a couple of tablespoons of honey and balsamic vinegar and roasted at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The mixture can then be used on salads, yogurts, custards, etc.
- Fresh strawberries, thinly sliced, are great in salads with almonds or walnuts or pine nuts--a homemade (not too heavy) balsamic dressing goes nicely with this. Always grind some fresh black pepper on, it compliments the strawberries.
- Again, if you eat dairy, you can make a great "free form" cheesecake of ricotta, drizzled with honey and topped with strawberries, perhaps with some chopped up walnut bits as well.
- Strawberry kefir is also a nice beverage, provides great probiotics.
- Listen to the Beatles psychedelic masterpiece, Strawberry Fields Forever.
- Buy an old school Bonne Bell lipsmacker in strawberry.
- Wear some strawberry nail polish on your toes.
- Dye your hair strawberry blonde, or get one strawberry peek-a-boo red streak!
- Buy something, anything, in bright red gingham.
Happy Solstice and Happy Eating!