I spent some time outside of the city recently and went strawberry-picking. While I was kneeling in the dirt, I remembered how when I was young, I used to complain when my mother would ask me to go outside and pick some strawberries for dinner (yes, we were lucky enough to have our own patch, along with many other fresh goodies!). Many years later, I relish the opportunity to get outside, get dirty, and get my own food fresh off the bush!
I could hardly wait to get the berries home and pile them onto a bowl of ice cream. We came home with several flats, but not all of them were destined to be my dessert. We hauled and bagged 10 quarts of berries to put in the freezer. This means we get to enjoy local berries all year round in smoothies, jam, and pies.
My favourite way to eat strawberries is the classic strawberry shortcake: local ice cream, piled with homemade angel food cake and a mound of fresh berries. I also discovered that they are not just for dessert, but also make a nice salad.
Strawberry Mint Salad
Ingredients: Strawberries, cleaned and sliced
Handful of Fresh mint leaves,
chopped Balsamic Vinaigrette
Small handful of sesame seeds (optional)
Mix mint leaves into strawberries and drizzle with dressing. I make my vinaigrette with 3 parts oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar and add local maple syrup, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds.
Fresh strawberries are available at farmers’ markets throughout the Greenbelt for a limited time. And, if you’re feeling ambitious enough to pick your own, visit a Greenbelt farm.