Berry Good Strawberries

by Sharon Asakawa

For optimum flavor, harvest your strawberries the day you plan on eating them. If possible, do not store them in the refrigerator, but if you must refrigerate, take them out 1-2 hours before serving so that they return to room temperature. A sunny spot in the kitchen is a perfect place to warm them up.

20 minutes before serving, dust the washed and sliced strawberries with sugar to draw out the juices and boost the flavor. Other hints: a squeeze of lemon juice helps the flavor to last; freshly ground pepper adds warmth and tasty accents such as the addition of a richly-flavored liqueur like Chambord (made with black raspberries, other fruits, herbs and honey) or freshly shredded chocolate mint just before serving are all excellent palate-pleasing companions. Also cooked soft fruit such as rhubarb combined with strawberries makes an excellent summer crumble accompanied with a generous dollop of whipping cream.