The Perfect Strawberry Dilemma
The problem with perfect strawberries is that they are only perfect briefly. As in right now. By breakfast time tomorrow they may already be getting soft spots and by the day after mold may set in.
It’s an aspect of local eating that sometimes trips people up. The well-earned kudos for the superior flavors of local produce come from the fact that it is picked in season at its peak. In some cases, as with leafy greens, this may mean that the produce actually lasts longer than its supermarket cousin. But with fruit, it’s a different story. Especially with a fruit such as strawberries, which should never be stored in the refrigerator because doing so totally changes the taste and texture. People buy an extra quart or two because they’re so good, thinking they’ll have all week to enjoy them. Wrong!
So I may have overdone it with the strawberries at this past Tuesday’s CSA distribution. I’ve been getting strawberries from the farmers’ markets for a few weeks now. They’ve been good, but not knock-your-socks-off fabulous. There is a difference between in season and in peak season. These CSA strawberries were peak.
So when there were extras leftover at the end of the distribution, I couldn’t resist. I took extras. Lots of extras.
I had some with breakfast the next day, but by the time I came back from work it was evident that I had to do something with the rest now. I set aside a few of the most likely candidates for the following day’s breakfast, but there were still a ton to deal with.
I made and canned strawberry jam, as well as a strawberries with white wine sauce (to pour over other fruit such as pear halves later in the year for a splendid dessert). This is the sauce, which has whole strawberries floating in it:
I also froze strawberries (tip: spread your fruit out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze that way before packing into freezer bags or containers. The fruit pieces stay loose and separate and later on you can just take out what you need rather than dealing with a solid block of frozen fruit).
I think I’m done. Not that I won’t enjoy eating them if we get strawberries again in our share next week. But I’ll pass on taking extras.
By the way, I am not complaining!
Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith