One bite of a fresh, in-season summer strawberry from a local farm — or harvested from your backyard if you're lucky! — and you'll have a tough time going back to eating the grocery store variety any other time of year.
How to choose and store strawberries
Look for berries that are fully ripened and are bright red all the way up to the stems, avoiding any that are bruised or mushy. A sweet-smelling strawberry is a pretty surefire sign of a sweet-tasting berry, so lean in and take a sniff. If they don't smell like much, chances are they won't taste like much either.
Store ripe strawberries uncovered in the refrigerator for up to a few days. Do not wash berries until you are ready to use them, as the moisture will cause them to spoil faster. If you are not able to use your berries within a few days, or you are just stocking up while they are in season, freeze them by placing washed and dried berries in a freezer bag.
Strawberry ginger jam
This subtly spicy jam is especially good on toast points with goat cheese or poured over vanilla ice cream.
Yields 3 cups
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, minced
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, stems remove and halved
- Combine the sugar, crystallized ginger, lemon juice and zest and cook on the stovetop over the lowest possible flame until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 10 minutes).
- Add in the halved strawberries and cook for 35 to 45 minutes over low heat or until the strawberries have broken down and the mixture starts to thicken. If the strawberry pieces are still a little big, feel free to break them up a little with a potato masher.
- To test for doneness, pour a small amount of the boiling jam onto a cold plate and place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If the jam gels, it is ready. Pour into jars and either refrigerate and use within a week or preserve by following proper canning guidelines.
Strawberry avocado salsa
- 2 cups strawberries, finely chopped
- 1 small avocado, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- Zest from 1/2 lime
- Juice from 1 lime
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
Strawberry basil smoothie
Yields 1 smoothie
- 2 cups strawberries, frozen
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 large basil leaves
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Transfer to a glass and serve.
Strawberries with ricotta and balsamic reduction
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- Make the balsamic reduction by heating the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and, while whisking, stir in the sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture is reduced by one-half and has become syrupy (watch closely to ensure it doesn't burn). Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Mix together the ricotta cheese and black pepper and spoon on top of the strawberries. Sprinkle with the fresh mint and drizzle with a bit of the balsamic reduction.
More strawberry recipes
Balsamic strawberry bruschetta
Fresh strawberry daiquiri