Summertime Strawberry Desserts


Everyone’s favorite berry becomes everyone’s favorite dessert.

By FamilyTime

 

Bright red, shiny, fragrant strawberries, with their perky stems and shiny green leaves, are just about everyone's favorite summer berry.

Although they are available most of the year 'round, they are at their delicious best from May through July. Easy to find in supermarkets, the sweetest berries are often sold in farmer's markets by the very people who grow them. Just-picked, sun-ripened berries are a treat worth seeking.

Strawberry Desserts
When we think of strawberry desserts, strawberry shortcake leaps to mind. This all-American favorite is defined by the freshness and juiciness of the berries as much as it is by the shortcake and softly whipped cream.

The shortcake can be a split and sweetened biscuit or a sponge cake, piled high with sliced strawberries and topped with clouds of sweetened whipped cream. While the cake can be baked and the berries sliced ahead of time, last-minute assembly takes only minutes.

Strawberry tarts, cheesecake, smoothies, and even chilled strawberry soup all are luscious endings to a summertime meal. All are best made with summer's tastiest berries.

As the sun sets, the crickets begin to chirp, and the stars shimmer in the summer sky, why not celebrate the season with one of these showstoppers?

Strawberry Ice Cream
Of course, some would argue that summer is not summer without homemade strawberry ice cream. Cold, sweet, and pink, it's a taste of heaven on earth.

You can buy high-quality strawberry ice cream in supermarkets, but for authentic, old-fashioned flavor, nothing beats homemade.

With today's easy-to-use ice cream machines, it's far easier to churn a quart or two of ice cream than you might think. And the smiles it will bring to the faces assembled around the dining table are worth every bit of effort!

Selecting Strawberries
Choose bright red berries with healthy looking leaves and stems. Avoid those with white or green shoulders and any that are bruised. Oversized berries may look enticing, but too often they are disappointing, with white, tasteless interiors.

Small, organically grown berries are the best bet in terms of taste. These are apt to be the freshest and the most carefully grown but are usually only sold in farmers' markets or specialty stores.

Handling Strawberries
Try to eat strawberries within two days of purchase. Refrigerate them as soon as you can. Just before serving, rinse them under cool water. Do not soak them or they will absorb the water and turn soggy and flavorless.

Dry the berries in a colander or between layers of paper towels. Use a small, sharp knife to hull berries before slicing them. This means to cut out the stem end and discard the stem and leaves.

Strawberries freeze well. Lay dry berries on a baking sheet and freeze them. When firm, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic bag. Or, make a simple syrup with sugar and water (a 1:1 ratio is generally the best) and freeze the berries bathed in syrup.

While strawberries are not as delicate as raspberries or blackberries, they should be treated with care, and enjoyed with abandon!