A Spring Favorite: Strawberries Are So Versatile
The strawberry boasts an assorted history. Some claim ancient Romans enjoyed them, likely the wild fruit wood or mush strawberries. The most common type of strawberry that we love to eat today probably made its way around the globe, thanks to various explorers
Strawberries are often referred to as the first fruit of the seasons because traditionally they ripened in June and were harvested within a few weeks. Today the demand for strawberries from consumers nationwide and creative chefs has prompted farmers to develop methods to grow these little red gems year-round.
Strawberries aren’t just a topping for biscuits or waffles. Chefs are roasting, pureeing, pickling, drying and even grinding them to a powder, increasing the ways they can use the fruit. Their versatility allows them to be featured in appetizers, entrées, desserts and even beverages.
Chef Clark Congdon of The Junction House Kitchen & Brewery in Old Town Manassas, Va., likes to stuff strawberries with a goat cheese coulis finished with mint leaf or balsamic reduction. “You not only get the sweet and tart with this recipe, you can also have a balance of textures with the crispness of the berry and the creaminess of the cheese,” says Congdon.
That delicate balance of sweetness and acidity is essential to a strawberry’s taste. When they are in their prime season of late spring, their taste is truly remarkable. There just isn’t anything like a ripe, red, juicy, just-picked-from-the-field strawberry. While savory and sweet dishes alike lend themselves well to this delicious fruit, you can always skip the flair and just load them up in a bowl and grab a spoon.