It's the sure signal of summer's arrival: Strawberries are piling up at local farmers' markets. Here, 7 recipes—from sweet to savory—starring the red gems.
But if you crave fresh, local strawberries, get ready: They peak from mid-June into July, depending on your climate. Local berries tend to be small, but are sweeter and more tender. You'll find them at farmers' markets, co-ops, and organic grocery stores.
Photo: Christopher Baker
Although this tart is a snap to prepare, give it at least two hours to cool to give chocolate a nice, firm consistency.
Tip: If dipping berries in chocolate, thoroughly dry them. Any residual moisture will keep the chocolate from sticking.
Fresh berries star in this main dish salad composed of simple, high-quality ingredients.
Tip: Serve berries at room temperature for best flavor.
This bright relish is delicious over grilled fish or chicken. Strawberries will stain the pineapple pink over time; if making ahead, stir in the berries just before serving.
Tip: Consider organic: In addition to less chemical residue, studies show organic strawberries have a longer shelf life, higher nutritional content, and, subjectively, better flavor.
- Recipe: Strawberry-Pineapple Salsa
Although perfect over grilled pork, turn Strawberry-Balsamic Sauce into a staple by serving it over main dish salads and other grilled meats.
Tip: Select plump, bright-red berries with vibrant, green caps. Once picked, strawberries don't ripen in the carton, so pale ones may be tart and overly firm. Look at the bottom of the container, and skip any that are seeping or mushy.
If the mascarpone or cream cheese is thick, thin with 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice.
Tip: Never wash strawberries until you are ready to eat or cook them. Gently clean with cool water, drain, and remove the green cap.
- Recipe: Strawberry Pavlova
Use this season's juicy bounty in a berry twist on the original lime cocktail.
Tip: Store strawberries in the refrigerator in the original container or on a paper towel in a shallow bowl. Eat as soon as possible, ideally within two days.
- Recipe: Strawberry Mojito
Use homemade strawberry jam from this summer's crop for the most decadent tasting bars.
Tip: To freeze strawberries, slice off the caps and place in a single layer on baking sheets. Once frozen, place berries in a plastic storage bag, removing as much air as possible, and store for three to five months.
- Recipe: Strawberry-Cream Cheese Bars