I just couldn’t let strawberry season go by without mention. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a strawberry freak! Really, it’s the only reason I tolerate the summertime. Each year I await the season with much anticipation. The season start date varies from year to year depending on the weather. Unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of our season here in Ottawa. It is always fleeting.
My heart almost stopped three weeks ago when we drove by my local berry farm haphazardly and realized the season had already started. Of course it had. It’s been scorching hot! So without hesitation, we quickly turned the car around, parked and marched right in. I abruptly enquired about the official start date, took a good hard look at the strawberries on display, and felt relieved that I had not missed the optimal weekend for strawberry picking. After years of strawberry picking, I have learned a thing or two. Most importantly, the optimal weekend for strawberry picking is the second weekend after your berry farm opens. On the first weekend, the strawberries are too small and on the last weekend, they have been picked over.
I had planned to make my jam on the long weekend, but had to rearrange my entire schedule to get the jam in the weekend before. This year, I managed to drag my husband out with me. Though not a strawberry fan (I know I’m totally baffled by this), he joins me from time to time. I can’t tell you what pleasure I derive from just being in a strawberry field. No joke, even the Beatles song enters my head. I can’t explain it, it is just magical. I’m usually there really early, so I almost always have the field to myself. The perfume from the strawberries is just so overwhelming that the sheer act of breathing lets you drink it all in. The air is normally warm, but not overpoweringly hot. There’s something about the act of berry picking that makes me feel connected with the earth – and its bounty. Then the work begins. Hand-selecting each and every perfect berry. Soon after, the temptation settles in, picking versus eating. Have you ever had a perfectly ripe strawberry straight from its plant? It really is heaven on earth. Strawberries are unequivocally the world’s most perfect fruit.
I made my jam when I came home. You must absolutely make it on the day that the strawberries are picked. My husband asked if I was going to feature the jam recipe for that week. I answered a firm “no”. Homemade strawberry preserves are heavenly, but nothing surpasses the fruit in its natural state when in season. Don’t get me wrong. We still made vanilla scones to sample this year’s batch of strawberry jam. Nothing pairs more beautifully than warm vanilla scones and freshly made strawberry jam. However, strawberries are at their best untouched and in their natural ripe state.
This picture makes my mouth water. It’s an easy breakfast item (with four simple ingredients) that looks incredibly decadent, but is actually good for you. Strawberries and almonds are married with a hint of honey and are cascaded over some plain vanilla yogurt. A strawberry feast – dessert for breakfast. It doesn’t get any better (or easier) than this!
|Yogurt, strawberry/vanilla||½ cup|
|Strawberries, hulled, quartered||15|
|Almonds, slivered||3 tbsp|
- Place yogurt in a breakfast bowl.
- Top with half the strawberries.
- Sprinkle with half the slivered almonds.
- Drizzle 1 tsp of honey.
- Repeat in this order again.