Most years, the beloved local strawberry season arrives with a bang, just in time for Memorial Day desserts. This year a cool, wet spring delayed much of the crop. But the good news is that it’s likely strawberries still will be in season for Father’s Day on June 19.
Local strawberries are the best; red all the way through, they are allowed to ripen on the plant, which gives them more time to develop color and flavor. They are a nutritious fruit with plenty of vitamins, fiber and high levels of antioxidants. Free of sodium, fat and cholesterol, they are a good source of potassium.
Picking strawberries is a popular family activity and those in search of pick-your-own opportunities can find them at some local farms. Among them is Trauger’s Farm Market in Kintnersville, None Such Farm in Buckingham, Phillips Farm Market outside Milford, N.J., and Terhune Orchards in Princeton, N.J. At Terhune, you also can pick your own asparagus.
When you have your local berries in hand, you know what to do with them. Eat them fresh, make shortcake, crisps, cobblers, pies or ice cream, and add them to salads, smoothies and fruit salads. Making strawberry jam is easier than you think, and the result tastes better than anything you bought in the supermarket.
Fast on the heels of strawberry season will be the arrival of local blueberries. That crop is shaping up to be an outstanding one, and we can look for those at local farms and in the supermarket in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, here is a recipe for an easy fresh strawberry pie from tasteofhome.com:
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unroll crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge. Line unpricked crust with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil or parchment. Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Refrigerate until slightly cooled, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange strawberries in the crust. Pour gelatin mixture over berries. Refrigerate until set. If desired, serve with whipped cream.