Strawberries are my first and truest love when it comes to seasonal eating. I may flirt with strawberries in the winter but I usually feel guilty about my inconstancy. When strawberry season comes to Ontario I fully embrace the experience of picking strawberries, eating strawberries, and breathing in the beautiful scent of fresh local strawberries.
Local strawberries mean the true start of summer to me. They arrive when school ends for the year and it is just starting to get really hot. The kind of hot that doesn’t have the slight chill in the breeze that hot days in May can have. I am struggling with some things in my life, some of which I have mentioned on the blog previously but some days I still manage to grasp at a piece of the small pleasures the world gives. As I wade through these long summer days now that seemed to be filled with self-doubt, regret, and sometimes disappointment, I find myself thinking nostalgically about the girl I was with strawberry blond hair getting sunburnt out picking berries in the strawberry patch.
When I’m out in the field now, picking strawberries, I am the same young girl who happily tagged along with her dad to Barrie Hill Farm. The same girl who looked forward to the wagon ride out to where we would be told what row we should pick and who tried desperately, but failed every single time, to pick strawberries as quickly as her dad.
Dad and I would triumphantly return home with our bounty and we would all set to work on making freezer jam. Mom would wrangle every glass jar she could find in the house and we would fill up the freezer with jam. As we hulled the strawberries for the jam, we would feast with abandon. I don’t remember my mom making any special desserts with the strawberries but that is probably because I was too busy eating them au natural to notice if she did.
My cousin, Pauline, introduced my sister and I to a peculiar way to eat fresh strawberries. She got us to put some sour cream in one bowl and some brown sugar in another. She then dipped a strawberry in the sour cream and then the brown sugar and pop the lot in her mouth. The way the flavour of the strawberry with the tangy richness of the sour cream blended with the caramel sweetness of the brown sugar was a revelation for me.
It has been quite a while since I found myself with bowls of strawberries, sour cream, and brown sugar in front of me ready for the dipping assembly line. I have now discovered the full fat wonder that is creme fraiche. At 35% milkfat it is a decadent treat that I encourage you to indulge in. It is a little hard to find as it tends to not be in regular grocery stores. If you can’t find it then search out some sour cream with the highest percentage of fat you can and proceed with my little recipe.
I’m not even going to put these instructions in the usual printable recipe box. You can scale this up or down as you like; just taste as you go to see if you have enough brown sugar in the creme fraiche to your liking.
Strawberries with Creme Fraiche & Brown Sugar
1/2 cup creme fraiche
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 quart washed & hulled strawberries
The photo below is from my Instagram account. I wanted to visually demonstrate how much better it is to buy local strawberries than the ones that are hauled 3000 miles across the continent. If we want to still have the sheer pleasure of eating fresh local strawberries when they come in season then we need to throw our full support behind the local growers when our strawberry season comes. Leave the Californian and Chilean strawberries to rot in the store to show the big grocery stores what we want. If you want real food, grown by farmers who follow our laws regarding pesticides rather than those of a country whom we have no lawmaking power, and who are your neighbours rather than huge industrial agribusiness that have the capital to ship fruit thousands of miles, then put your money where your mouth is. (This PSA was brought to you by the little strawberry blond girl who still has some fight in her)