Strawberry season is here! And fresh-from-the-field, locally grown strawberries are a different animal entirely than their commodity, bred-to-ship brethren.
Dean Engelmann, co-owner of Wise Acre Eatery, grows tons of the former for the restaurant, and his partner, Scott Endres, explains why skips the year-round, supermarket fruit in favor of in-season strawberries: "Why bother," he says of the former. "They're flavorless, waterlogged, and don't taste anything like a strawberry should."
Whether you buy 'em from Wise Acre's retail case like we did, purchase at the local farmers markets, or pick-your-own, now's the time to stock up. The Hot Dish asked Wise Acre's chef Beth Fisher for some suggestions on how to serve strawberries:
5 Ways to Eat Strawberries, courtesy chef Beth Fisher 1. Fresh. Serve 'em over custard like they do at the restaurant or dip 'em in chocolate. 2. Strawberry syrup. Fisher's sous chef made a strawberry syrup with steeped rosemary to combine with carbonated water for a strawberry rosemary soda that could be served in, say, February. Strawberry Fields Forever! 3. Strawberry jam. If you don't have time to can right away, just cook the berries with a little lemon juice and sugar and freeze them until you're ready. Fisher likes to blend jam with flavors like citrus or thyme to complement the strawberries' sweetness. 4. Strawberry cucumber salad. Try hulling the berries tossing them with diced cucumber, onions, and herbs. Fisher's pairing this salad with pork at the restaurant. 5. Strawberry salsa. Just follow a mango salsa recipe and substitute strawberries for a fiery, sweet/savory Latin American sauce.
*Remember, fresh-picked, seasonal strawberries don't last, so be sure to eat 'em fresh, cook, freeze, or can them as soon as you possibly can.