Summer's First Flush

There is an anticipation to the first bite of a June strawberry in Ontario, a feeling very much like the day before your summer vacation starts. And if your cravings for fresh strawberries had you buying the imports than you know they are merely a pale shadow.

If you’re like me, you don’t hold back…I tend to eat far too many fresh berries, ripe and red right to the stem and all the way to the centre, and then I become fully saturated and need to take a week to recover from the strawberry overload. With that first overindulgence out of the way, then I can get into some serious strawberry preparations, and like my equivalent vegetable obsession in June, asparagus, I eat strawberries every single day and virtually every single meal until the season transitions over to cherries and raspberries.

I will confess that, as a baker, I sometimes shake my fist at strawberries, not just because the seeds seem to find every little space between my teeth to hide far beyond the reach of floss, but that they aren’t really a good fruit for baking. Without rhubarb, a strawberry fruit pie would be soggy, and flat-tasting, and when stirred into a basic muffin mixture, I cringe at the greyness they bake into, reminding me of the dreary March days long gone.

But fresh… strawberries can’t be beat! So I will overindulge, recover, dive back in and embrace every single precious berry! This month’s recipes are a tribute to that first fruit of spring so show them some love!