Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So Many Strawberries

I know I am bombarding you all with farm posts and not many recipes these days, but it is that time of year when fresh food is springing from the earth (and the markets) and not so much cooking needs to be done. A few fresh perfectly ripe ingredients and you have a meal. I know this is easy for me to say, since I am a chef, and there is a tiny bit of skill involved in putting together even simple ingredients, but please bear with me for one more spring farm post and I'll try and squeeze in a few cooking tips for you too.
The strawberries are crazy ripe and abundant right now, so if you can find the time (or make the time) get out and pick some! The heat and low rain fall have made it an exceptional year for the ruby jewels of the spring. I went to a local farm with my 2 year old on my day off, and picked 13 pounds in about 1/2 hour! At the Jones Family Farm berries were $2.09/pound if you pick over 8 pounds, and $2.69 for under 8 pounds. A quart was a pound and a half, so it would be about $3.15, which is much cheaper than local berries at the market or store, and about the same or less than the usually tasteless ones flown here form California. 

There are strawberry festivals all around, just google them for dates and locations. The White House posted a great rhubarb strawberry crisp recipe* as part of the Chefs Move to Schools launch, and I am working on my rhubarb ripple ice cream recipe which also has strawberries in it. For now, I might just slice some strawberries and add a little tarragon or basil and pinch of sugar, then toss them on a salad, or some yogurt and enjoy. The rest of the berries will get eaten or frozen.

Tip: if you want to freeze berries that you have picked, rinse and drain them. place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer so they will freeze without sticking together. Once frozen, transfer them to a bag or a container and keep them in the freezer.

*If you want to make the White House recipe a little healthier you can use oil instead of butter in the crisp part of the recipe, and substitute some apple juice concentrate, honey, or maple syrup for some or all of the sugar, and reduce the amount of sweetener over all in the crisp. Just taste the crumble to see if it is sweet enough. a little dash of salt helps to bring the flavors together and compensate for the lack of butter and sugar.

To find a place to pick fruit in your area go to: www.pickyourown.org
If you are in the New Haven, CT area you might check out: 
Bishop's Orchards, Guilford
Dondero Orchards, South Glastonbury
Jones Family Farm, Shelton
Rose's Berry Farm, South Glastonbury
Lyman Orchards, Middlefield 
Here are some photos to inspire you:


  1. We just did the same thing at Bishop's last weekend and we'll probably go again this weekend. We've learned not to pick too many at once - hard to eat them all before they start to get moldy. We did freeze a bunch too, however, for sorbet, ice cream..., or daiquiris. :-)

  2. hey tagan
    we made rhubarb chutney, which is sooooo good with mild cheese and bread, with scrambled eggs, or whatever....nice to have something savory from rhubarb.