Strawberries are the kind of food that make you smile one second into your first bite. The taste of summer in one fruit. We New Englanders are blessed with abundant strawberries, growing wild in our rich soils. My family always enjoyed them after a day at the lake, at a family barbecue, or in the car on a long drive. You also may have noticed that this delicious fruit tends to be a bit pricier than your average market treat, making them a great crop for farmers providing a start of season income boost. They are one of the first fruits to ripen in the summer season, and can be enjoyed many ways. June is the month of the strawberry moon, and tonight is the night of the full moon. Each months moon was named by Native Americans after a naturally occurring event. The Strawberry moon got its name from Algonquin tribes, who noted that June is the best time to begin harvesting the ripening strawberry fruit.
My favorite way to enjoy strawberries are as a dessert of course. These recipes are a reminder of my childhood. I first had strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar at the start of a pool party. The directions for this one are simple, rinse a bowl of strawberries, scoop some sour cream in a bowl and pour some brown sugar in a third bowl. Dip the strawberry in the sour cream, and then in the brown sugar, eat immediately! The brown sugar melts slightly over the sour cream making a delicious sauce with crunchy bits of brown sugar. I also really enjoy strawberry shortcake the recipe for which I’ve included below. You can find the first of the season Strawberries at our farmers markets or check out this former Seacoast Eat Local intern’s post for a list of pick your own farms!
2 quarts hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder*
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, or 1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup milk*
2 teaspoons milk, optional; for topping
2 teaspoons sugar, optional; for topping
*Or substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the buttermilk powder and milk
1. To prepare the fruit: Slice strawberries, and mix all of the berries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let rest 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
3.To make the biscuits: Whisk together the dry ingredients, and work in the cold butter or shortening until the mixture is crumbly.
4. Whisk the vanilla and egg with the milk, then add all at once to the dry ingredients and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead four or five times, just until it holds together. Pat the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick, and cut it into 2 1/2″ to 3″ circles.
6. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, brush the tops with milk for a shiny surface, and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Just before serving, split open the biscuits, spoon half the berries and whipped cream on the bottom half, top with remaining biscuit halves, and spoon on the remaining berries and cream.