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The Best Strawberry Recipes for Summer Harvests

what to do with a huge bowl of strawberries

May marks the beginning of strawberry season, making it the early summer highlight for gardeners and fresh produce lovers alike. After a long, cold winter, it’s a welcome relief to see the fruits of your spring planting labour finally ripen. And there’s no better way to kick off the warm months than with fresh, juicy strawberries straight from the garden or local farms in late spring and early summer. Read on for delicious ways to use them.

The coronavirus lockdowns in recent years sparked a resurgence in home gardening not seen since World War II victory gardens. With more time at home, novice and experienced green thumbs turned to growing their food. Grand estates like Downton Abbey were built with vast kitchen gardens to feed aristocratic families and staff when trips to the market were impractical. While most of us don’t have expansive grounds, the grow-your-own movement continues to be strong.

Even urbanites can get in on the action through container gardening. Strawberries, herbs, cherry tomatoes and other easy edibles thrive in pots and planters on patios, balconies and sunny windowsills. Those in the suburbs typically have enough yard space to cultivate a modest backyard veggie patch.

Strawberries: The Taste of Early Summer

My mom always grew a strawberry bed, sparking my lifelong love of these luscious early summer berries. Her care and pride in tending the plants and harvesting their sweet reward left an indelible impression. Now that I have my own home, I continue the tradition with a dedicated strawberry patch in my backyard garden.

This week in late May, the ripe ruby gems are weighing down the vines faster than I can pick them. Twice-daily harvests are necessary to stay ahead of hungry critters looking for a free snack. The bunnies win some battles, but such is life in coexistence with nature’s residents.

For those without a green thumb or garden space, there’s no need to miss out on strawberry season’s bounty. Locally grown berries flood farmers’ markets and grocery stores in late spring and early summer with peak freshness and flavour. These field-to-table varieties aren’t coated in the thick skins necessary for long-distance shipping. That also means they’re supremely juicy and sweet without any off-putting bitterness.

Elevate Dishes with Fresh Strawberries

Of course, strawberries make a delightful snack or dessert all on their own, perhaps with a dollop of whipped cream. They’re also excellent for topping ice cream, cheesecakes, and parfaits. But these versatile berries can do much more to liven up savoury and sweet dishes in the kitchen.

Toss them in salads with tender greens, creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Blend into salad dressings or vinaigrettes for a fresh, fruity tang. Make strawberry salsa to serve with chips, grilled meats or fish. Stir them into oatmeal or yogurt parfaits. Add to quick breads, muffins and pancake batters. So many ways to enjoy nature’s early summer candy!

Great Downton Recipes

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