The Last Of The Strawberries

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June 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

I wrote here about how I quickly picked 12-1/2 pounds (or 8-1/2 quarts) of strawberries last weekend. Feeling a little overwhelmed with this seasonal bounty, I asked Beet readers for suggestions. The last of the strawberries were used up last night. I’m a little sad to see them go, and for me, strawberry season with it. But, using up 8-1/2 quarts (12-1/2 pounds) of strawberries was not as hard as you might think.

First, I preserved three pounds for jam. Then I made strawberry muffins.

As for the remaining 9-1/2 pounds, using them up was actually a breeze, thanks, in part, to Beet readers’ suggestions. And the bonus of this process was that I did not feel like I was eating strawberries all the time. Here’s how I used them (and I didn’t even make shortcake!):

    Salsa

If you haven’t tried Melissa Graham’s strawberry salsa – please do. It’s proof that strawberries are, for the most part, interchangeable with tomatoes. More than that, it ‘s a seasonally-apt way to get a salsa fix before tomato season goes into full swing.

    Salad

Tim suggested throwing them in my salad. Normally, I’m a “no fruit in my salad”-type person. But, I was desperate. So I made a strawberry-spinach salad with fresh mozzarella, green onion, toasted pecans, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and lots of black pepper. It surpassed my expectations — a little sweet, a little tart, and most importantly for a salad – it was filling.

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet

I took advantage of some leftover rhubarb in my fridge to make David Lebovitz’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet from his book, The Perfect Scoop. I loved the sound of Michele Hays’ Strawberry-Buttermilk gelato suggestion, but I wanted something a little lighter. Next time.

    Topping for yogurt

Why pay Starbucks’ prices for a yogurt parfait? Fage greek yogurt, strawberries and sometimes a banana mixed in makes a great breakfast.

    Strawberry tart

Danielle was not being hyperbolic about this tart when she called it the “best dessert ever.” Slightly sweetened, creamy mascarpone (with a trace of zesty lemon) and fresh strawberries is a decadent combination, made only more so with a port reduction. Don’t be turned off by the fancy-sounding nature of this dessert. It’s a cinch to put together. I’ll keep it in my summer repertoire and use other fruits in place of the strawberries later in the season.

    Daiquiris

I didn’t throw a daiquiri party (as good an idea as that was), but I did use about 1-1/2 pounds in shaken strawberry daiquiris. I pounded hulled strawberries into a puree and added about 3 T. to a shaker with 1 oz. lime juice, 2 t. sugar and 2 oz. rum. Typically made with white rum, the only white rum I had left in the liquor cabinet was a dusty bottle of Bacardi (which made drink number one have all the depth of lighter fluid), so for the remaining drinks I went against the grain and used Havana Club Añejo Especial, an aged Cuban rum.

    Vodka infusion

Finally, I used the remaining 2 pounds to infuse vodka. Even if you’re not a vodka person, or an infused-vodka person, strawberry-infused vodka is in a class of its own. I’ve made infused vodka or various ‘cellos in the past (which have citrus and sugar syrup) but I like strawberries best in infusions. Why? Strawberries are juicy, and give up all their juice to the infusion, resulting in a heady, sweet drink that can be sipped on its own. Or it can form the basis for numerous summer drinks. I like it in a strawberry-basil cocktail, or a topped off with sparking wine.

The moral of the story: It’s not that hard to use 12-1/2 pounds (or $18 worth) of U-pick strawberries. And I’m not even sick of them! In fact, it makes me sad to hear that strawberry season is moving on, but I’m looking forward to raspberries, blueberries, and peaches (especially peaches).

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