Finally – It’s Strawberry Season!

Local strawberries are here!

If you’re like me, this is an exciting time of year.  Although strawberries are available in grocery stores all year long, nothing beats the taste of a ripe, fresh, locally grown, strawberry that’s just been picked.  The juicy flesh and sweet burst of flavour is what if find absolutely irresistible. It’s a taste sensation that I wait all year for and every June these gorgeous little jewels never disappoint.

Strawberries make great coulis, jams and shrubs.  If you don’t have time to cook them, you can always freeze them and use them later.  I like to add frozen berries to smoothies, ice cream, and baked goods – like crumbles or muffins. Before using the berries for anything, they need to be cleaned.  Gently hull and wash each strawberry. If you’re freezing them, you can cut them in half or in quarters, depending on their size. On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, put a single layer of berries on the sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are partially frozen, they can be moved to an alternate storage container (i.e. ziplock bag or plastic tub).  Using this individual freezing method makes the berries easier to use after they’re frozen.

When buying strawberries, look for those that are red from leaf to tip, brightly coloured and plump, and try not to choose any that are bruised or soft.  The ‘shelf’ life of strawberries is relatively short, so use them promptly after picking or purchasing and remember to serve them at room temperature for the best flavour.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, so don’t be shy – indulge this spring/summer with some local, healthy, seasonal fruit!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MUFFINS

This is a quick and versatile recipe that’s great for any skill set; so give it a try!

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cup (500ml) all purpose flour

3 tsp (15ml) baking powder

1 tsp (5ml) salt

1/2 cup (125ml) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125ml) brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup (250ml) milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract

2 cups (500ml) chopped fresh strawberries

1 cup (250ml) diced rhubarb

TOPPING

1/4 cup (60ml) butter, melted

1/2 cup (125ml) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5ml) cinnamon

METHOD

  • Heat oven to 375F (190C). Prepare 12 muffin cups by putting in paper liners, or by spraying with non-stick vegetable coating.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
  • In another bowl, whisk eggs with the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just to moisten. Fold in the strawberries and rhubarb. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, gently melt the butter for the topping and set aside. In another bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon; mix well. 
  • When muffins come out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes.  Remove them from the tins, dip the tops in the melted butter, and then in the sugar/cinnamon mix.  Let cool thoroughly on a rack.
  • This recipe makes one dozen muffins, but can easily be doubled. 

Enjoy!