Saturday, June 23, 2007

Summer's First Strawberries

Strawberries- tiny, ruby-red, and bursting with flavour- have arrived! We took home our first few pints, straight from the pick-your-own farm and still warm from the sun. My relationship with berries of all kinds is fairly straightforward and absolutely gluttonous: give me a half hour alone with them, and I will eat every single one.

When it comes to the first summer strawberries, I don't do much in the way of heat-centric cooking. We eat them whole and unadorned when impatient, with plain yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup (L) or honey (me) for dessert, and on top of sweet cream ice cream for special occasions.

If you want a classic technique, sprinkle sugar over sliced strawberries and allow them to sit- they will release juices to make their own sweet syrup. If you're looking for an unusual and refreshing treat, especially one that will surprise your dining mate or dinner guests, drizzle a small amount of good-quality (preferably aged) balsamic vinegar over whole or sliced berries.

Check your local newspaper or town/city/state website for information on pick-your-own farms near you. If you live in Massachusetts, I can give you a head start.

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