In case you hadn’t noticed, we are deep into strawberry season.
In this season of plenty, it’s hard to choose between a simple dessert of sliced strawberries, sprinkled with a little sugar and spooned over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a more elaborate dish of strawberry shortcake.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Before you decide how best to enjoy fresh strawberries, you must prepare them for use. Of course, washing the berries, removing the stems and slicing them up is pretty simple. I tried using one of those strawberry-hulling gadgets for removing the stems, but the motion of changing tools for slicing seemed to add an extra step to the process. I like wielding a knife for both.
Instead of cutting straight across the top of the berry to remove the stem, I use a small paring knife to cut a stem-removing “V” before slicing the berry. Sliced from top to bottom, you end up with pretty heart-shaped slices. Sounds a bit fussy, but it is really just as easy as cutting each berry into random chunks.
If you enjoy strawberry ice cream, I recommend my longtime friend Donita Mitchell’s recipe. Mitchell, an Enid resident, recommends pureeing those berries and adding them to the ice cream mixture to eliminate hard frozen chunks. Thin slices can be incorporated during the freezing process as the ice cream begins to thicken.
Strawberries have a lovely affinity with other fruits, including kiwi, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, and of course, rhubarb. The tart flavor of rhubarb teamed with strawberries enhances both when tucked into pastry. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is a favorite around our house at this time of year. Combined into a sauce for ice cream and other desserts, this unique pink pairing is beautiful and hard to resist.