I am skeptical when it comes to strawberries. All winter long I crave them and every time I see them in the grocery store…I am tempted but I know better. Not since I was a kid picking wild strawberries with my parents, have I had strawberries that I can actually say taste like the ones that I remember. They were juicy, sugary and smelling like only a strawberry can smell. And for being so small, they packed an intense flavor. That is what is missing in today’s strawberries.
Why are they tasteless and hard like cardboard? Because they are genetically modified. Scientists have tinkered with the plant’s genetic makeup by putting new genetic stuff into the plants so we can have bigger and longer lasting strawberries at the expense of flavor. Just google genetically modified strawberries if you want a more information on this; it will definitely have you thinking twice about buying them.
And more bad news. According to information from the USDA, commercially grown strawberries contain the residue of over 50 different pesticides, some of them carcinogens. No thank you.
So now when I crave strawberries like the ones I remember as a kid, I don’t go to you pick farm or the local farmers market; instead I tromp in the woods and look for the tiny wild ones that never fail to disappoint. It takes patience, time and a sharp eye to find them. When I do, I enjoy them as nature intended.
Of course strawberries are at their best in season around mid June but if you absolutely must have them out of season, straight from the grocery store, try roasting them to enhance their otherwise limp flavor.
1 pint strawberries, washed, dried, stemmed and cut in half (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon good aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the berries in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the honey and olive oil together. Pour over the berries and coat them well. Arrange them cut side down in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet. Roast for 8-10 minutes or just long enough for the juices to thicken. Scoop the berries with their juices into a bowl and gently stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Eat them when cool or refrigerate them for up to a week.
More strawberry recipes at www.ciaoaitalia.com