Some women get jewelry or flowers.
I get a basket of couldn’t-be-more-fresh, sun-warm strawberries.
Life is good.
I’ve been photographing the small white beginnings of the strawberries in our backyard for weeks, watching them blush into being and shooing away birds that even looked in their general direction. We left town for Memorial Day weekend, and when we got back, the resident farmer-gardener headed out to harvest whatever was ready while I waited with the salad spinner and all the clean Tupperware I could find.
No less than 100 spins later (Call me if you need chard or micro greens! Already washed!), he was back inside with a “just because” gift: All the “ready” berries. All for me.
OK, people joke about hippies referring to raisins as “nature’s candy,” but the only objection I have to that is that raisins are dry and uncolorful.
Strawberries, on the other hand, are vibrant and juicy and just plain amazing. They are nature’s “just because” gift of candy.
At first, I figured I’d forgo a post about strawberries because, hello, they need no recipe. But summer has arrived with a vengeance this week with a stretch of temps in the 90s, and The Kichn’s roundup of 20 strawberry recipes included one for a fast, homemade sorbet …
- 2 pints of strawberries (1 for eating while making sorbet, the other for making sorbet … OK, 1 pint. You technically need only 1 pint.)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vodka (optional, but lowers freezing point and keeps sorbet soft)
- Juice from one lemon
Puree the strawberries. You can strain them through fine mesh to remove seeds, but you don’t have to. Whisk in the honey, vodka and lemon juice and pour the mixture into a stainless steel or plastic baking dish, in an even layer. Freeze.
Now, the recipe calls for you to transfer the semi-frozen sorbet into an ice cream machine. I don’t have an ice cream machine, and I bet many people reading this don’t, either.
Fret not. Professional chef David Lebovitz says you don’t need an ice cream maker to make ice cream or sorbet.
The no-ice-cream-machine trick: Intermittently stir the sorbet as it freezes to break up the formation of any hard crystals and give your sorbet the creamy consistency of the store-bought kind. Every 30 minutes or so, get out your baking dish and break up the sorbet, beating it vigorously with a spatula or electric mixer, then smoothing it back into an even layer before returning it to the freezer. (Lebovitz also offers a no-machine strawberry frozen yogurt recipe, if you have a surplus of Greek yogurt in your fridge, too.) The sorbet will likely take 2-3 hours total to completely freeze. If you start it right after work, it should be ready for you to enjoy on the back porch after dinner.
Or in the air conditioning.
Storage tip: All fresh berries should be stored in your mouth as soon as possible after picking. If you really do have more than you can eat in a sitting, either store them unwashed or dry them before placing them in airtight containers. If you see any bad ones, remove them and rewash the rest.
Where to get them: Because you can’t have mine! Most farms, if they grow strawberries, will have them out at their stands this weekend. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’re local. Also, there are two area strawberry festivals this weekend: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Christ Lutheran Church of Spry, 2385 S. Queen St., York Township, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Haldeman Mansion, 230 Locust Grove Rd., Conoy Township (Lancaster County). Celebrate the strawberries with other local foodies.