In our gardens the fruits are fast reaching perfection; all esculent plants are in full use; the rich juicy black currant is ripe, and the gooseberries are full almost to bursting. Ripe strawberries nestle under every leaf. … Now is the season for bathing, whether in river or ocean. How delicious is a plunge in this thirsty weather!
—”July,” Eliza Cook’s Journal, July 6th, 1850
One of my favorite memories from my childhood is the time I went strawberry picking with my grandparents in the hills near where we lived. It was glorious weather; sunny, but with a nip in the eucalyptus-scented air. I remember eating almost as many strawberries as I ended up picking. I remember the excitement that came the next day as I helped my grandmother make delicious strawberry preserves and can strawberries for use throughout the year. There were always enough strawberries left over to eat with delicious golden cream and icing sugar dusted on top. It was the most glorious dessert in the world.
These days I don’t live near the hills; I live in a city far away from where I grew up. If I want strawberries now I buy them in a supermarket, a far cry from a simpler, gentler time. I understand if you don’t live near farms where you can go to pick your own produce but if you can, you should. Take the whole family; make an outing of it. May is National Strawberry Month, after all. It is a whole month dedicated to obsessing about this rather humble berry and making delicious strawberry recipes. Once all the picking is done, you can decide what you want to do with your haul.
Tasty Strawberry Recipes
Preserves and Canning
Canning strawberries is a fantastic way to make them last all year long. Now, there are a lot of resources out there that deal with canning and preservation, so you need to find the one that works for you. Personally, I recommend buying Can It!: The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods by Gary Allen. Containing traditional and modern recipes, this book celebrates the many ways in which we preserve food and extend its life.
As for preserving strawberries in particular, I like the practical advice proffered by Zoe Dawn in her blog. This is a good fool-proof way to preserve strawberries, and indeed, any other berry. Whether you’re a beginning canner or an experienced one, it’s bound to appeal with its easy-to-follow directions.
As for preserves, you could opt for making a jam like this gorgeous old-fashioned strawberry jam from Melissa Norris. Imagine that slathered over hot buttery crumpets or hot scones at tea time. I like this strawberry recipe because it uses less sugar than most other strawberry jam recipes and it doesn’t require pectin. Or you could make James Martin’s recipe for perfect strawberry jam every time — for eating or gifting (or both!).
There are other delicious ways you could use up strawberries than just jams or canning. How about this delicious vinaigrette that sounds like it would be divine in quite a lot of summer salads? Or this delicately tinted strawberry rhubarb sauce that would be amazing ladled over cold creamy vanilla ice cream?
The sky’s the limit!
Desserts and Baked Goods
I’m going to start off this set of strawberry recipes with these gorgeously creamy and ice cold popsicles. What better way to celebrate the onset of summer? Pretty Simple Sweet’s strawberry banana popsicles are a delicious and healthy summer treat. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for this frozen yogurt bark featuring both pistachios and strawberries (and why wouldn’t you be, really?)? Or perhaps I can tempt you with this easy no-churn strawberry ice cream (just look at the berries studded in that ice cream!) that only uses three ingredients from Best Recipe Box.
I love the sound of this strawberry cheesecake icebox cake from Life Made Sweeter. I’m a huge fan of icebox cakes in the summer because they’re a delicious treat that you can make without turning on the oven. Read my article from last summer if you want to know more about summertime cooking that doesn’t require an oven. I also have to share this no-guilt strawberry frozen yogurt from Just A Taste (it also comes together in minutes — what’s not to love?).
Of course, turning on the oven is unavoidable from time to time, especially if you want to indulge in some cake. Like this strawberry pound cake from Love Foodies or this easy strawberry dump cake from Thirty Handmade Days (only three ingredients; it couldn’t be easier if you tried).
If you like dense fruity breads, then you can’t go wrong with this recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling for fresh strawberry bread. It looks glorious, doesn’t it? You could also make strawberry cinnamon rolls, if you like. A Few Shortcuts shows you how. And if you’d like to make the most ultimate nod to summer, you can’t go wrong with this easy strawberry Jell-O pie from Cincy Shopper.
What are you waiting for? Have a wonderful month indulging in strawberries — you deserve it!
What are your favorite strawberry recipes? Let us know in the comments below.
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.