strawberry season--part two

yeah yeah, storing berries is all well and good. But what about EATING them?  

all the Berries!

Other than just eating them, straight, I fall back to a few options.

that's brown sugar on the strawberries, not blueberries.

First, sliced berries with a bit of sugar.  I make my own vanilla sugar, which is killer sprinkled on the berries.  But also a bit of brown sugar is FANTASTIC. Sprinkle the sugar and let it sit for a bit, drawing out the juices of the berries--this is called macerating.  

Then, if you want to get fancier, add some cream--whipped or not.  Whipped cream is easy enough to do a small amount by hand with a whisk, just add a pinch of sugar (white or brown!) and beat the hell out of the cream with a whisk until it's thick.  You don't need to fully beat the cream to stiff peaks, even softly beaten cream is great.  Or just pour a bit on the berries.

Or, if you don't have heavy cream on hand, stir a bit of brown sugar into a little sour cream and plop that on top of the berries. 

Want strawberry shortcake? Make some of the cream biscuits (add a tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients).  Split them, top with the macerated berries and top that with whipped cream. DONE. 

Also, here's a little whipped cream trick: add a little bit of sour cream to the heavy cream before you beat it.  It'll help stabilize the whipped cream to make it last longer (it won't deflate in the fridge or weep liquid), and adds a little tang, similar to what creme fraiche is like. 

strawberry water.  take the tops out before you drink though.

One last thing you can do with the berries: throw the tops into water, and keep in the fridge for an hour before fishing out the berry tops.  Now you have fancy spa strawberry water!

Strawberry season

Yesterday, we got two boxes of strawberries in our csa share. You guys they are so good. There's nothing like truly ripe strawberries that are red all the way through.

bowl 'o berries

I love strawberry season. But it doesn't last long, and neither do the berries once they're in my house. While the biggest little isn't the fruit fanatic that the littlest little is, both kids will eat strawberries until they turn into one. 

The problem is that berries, especially the ripe ones, are so fragile and spoil quickly. and because I am a hoarder, and want to eat all the berries when they're around, keeping them from getting gross before I can snarf them down can be tricky. 

There are a ton of articles about how to keep your strawberries for longer, and BELIEVE ME I've read them all.  Here's what works for me. HOT water (or vinegar water), and perfectly dry berries before stashing in the fridge.

Wash the berries in the hottest water you can get from the tap. Or, wash the berries in vinegar water. OR, wash the berries in HOT vinegar water.  Ditch any berries that have any mushy spots (or, realistically, carve out the mushy spots and eat those berries RIGHT NOW), and any signs of mold (don't eat these). Then make sure they're all 100% dry before putting them in the fridge. 

To wash in hot water, you can either fill the sink with the hottest water you can stand, then let the berries sit for a few minutes in the hot water.  Or, depending on the cleanliness of your sink, put them in a colander or strainer in a SINGLE LAYER, then rinse with the hottest water you can stand. It's a bit of a pain in the ass to place each berry in a single layer, but you need to sort through them anyway to ditch the gross ones, right? Then pat them dry on the dish towel or if you could fit your whole batch in the colander in a single layer, just let them dry there.  

To use vinegar water, fill the sink with water, and throw in a solid splash of white vinegar.  Let the berries soak for a few minutes.  Fish them out and let them dry or pat them dry.  And same thing for hot vinegar water--hot water in the sink with vinegar.

The hot water and vinegar will help kill the stuff on the berries that'll make 'em go bad.  Keeping the berries dry keeps them from rotting in the fridge.  I also don't stack them too high, because then the ones on the bottom get smooshed.

Next up? HOW TO EAT THEM.  Other than, you know, cramming them in your face hole. Which also works.