The last gasp of the local strawberries

I received this sad, sad note in my email in-box on Thursday, from Berry Hill Farm:

The strawberry season is slowly coming to the end. The berries are still looking very good and are still delicious. On the weekdays of this week we will be open every day from 7 am till 1 pm, and then from 4 pm to 7 pm for strawberries. On Saturday the 11th of July, we will be open from 7 am to 3 pm. Sunday we are not open.

Oh no! I’m not even sick of strawberries yet! And I had more recipes that I wanted to make with them. But I don’t have time to go out to this farm to pick again. So I dispatched my husband, Tom, to the Minneapolis Farmers Market’s downtown location on Thursday afternoon.

I did two things with the strawberries we bought – made Pimm’s Cup cocktails, and a strawberry-blackberry dessert.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pimm’s Cups, this is a traditional English summertime cocktail. The base is Pimm’s No. 1 gin, a gin infused with a number of herbs and spices.

If you do a web search for recipes, you’ll see that there are countless variations on the Pimm’s Cup cocktail. They all start with Pimm’s No. 1 gin and ginger ale or lemon-lime soda, then you can add whatever you choose — halved strawberries; cucumber spears; slices of lemon, lime or orange; slivered mint; fresh ginger slices; or whatever else strikes your fancy. The only limitation is what will fit into your glass.

This is a very refreshing summertime drink.

Pimm’s Cup

Pimm’s No. 1 Gin, 2-3 oz.
Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Cucumber, peeled and cut into long spears
Lemon & lime, sliced into thin disks
Fresh mint, slivered
Ginger ale or lemon lime soda

You can assemble this in any manner you’d like.

For the first one I made, I muddled the strawberries, cucumbers, and mint. This resulted in tons of debris floating around the glass, something that my husband didn’t mind but bugged me.

So, the 2nd time I made it, I did the following:
Put 4-5 ice cubes at the bottom of the glass, stuck in 3 cucumber spears around the perimeter, threw in 2 halved strawberries, poured in the gin, added the lemon and lime slices, slivered mint and more ice, then topped with the ginger ale. And drank it. Watch out, these go down fast!

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

I also tried Mark Bittman’s Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar recipe that he posted earlier this week.

The recipe calls for sprinkling the berries with sugar and letting them sit for a while. When you do this, the juices are drawn out and collect in the bottom of the bowl, making a delectable syrup. The balsamic syrup adds another rich note to the dish.

I served this with sliced pound cake and a dollop of Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream, my favorite of the supermarket choices. Mmmmm.

I’m going to miss the local strawberries. I had big plans this year to take a crack at making strawberry jam, but with being out of town for the past several weekends, there was no time. {Sigh} Next year I’m going to have to consult the strawberry calendar before I schedule my trips.

Fortunately, our raspberries in our yard are just about ready to pick. On to the next local fruit obsession…

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3 thoughts on “The last gasp of the local strawberries

  1. I have been on a Pimm's Cup kick this summer but have just been using cucumber in them, what have I been missing! According to my English friends the traditional mixer is that French sparkling lemonade so I tried it & it was so good

  2. I'll have to try the lemonade with it, that sounds good! Pimm's Cups seem like a flexible drink, you can throw in whatever fruit you'd like.

  3. Pingback: Drink your strawberries | Green Your Plate

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