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June 09, 2006

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Luisa

For some reason, strawberries seem like the most quintessential, romantic English food (I imagine strawberry fools and Eton Messes and pavlovas, though those aren't even English but still of the Commonwealth), so I love the idea of you gathering strawberries in Suffolk.

lobstersquad

You gotta hand it to them, English strawberries are the best, period. Here in Spain we don´t even grow real strawberries, just some mammoth variety that tastes mostly like wet grass.

Rachel

While strawberries maybe a typical English fruit, sadly like other coutnries, ours seem these days to have very little flavour. Unless of course you grow your own! It seems absurd to me to grow fruit that doesn't taste of anything! Sorry, it's another of my moans!

Tanna

Umm, we must each have such vivid memories of that spectaular moment when there's not another one in the world. A strawberry with flavor is a wonderous thing. One year I grew a plant in the top of a strawberry pot. I got one berry; it was a fruit for a god. And yes, I mean this plant only gave me one berry and didn't return the next year.

pyewacket

Strawberries are also deeply weather-dependent. A good apple tree will give you pretty good apples, even in a bad year. Blackberries are generally good int he depths of a bramble thicket no matter what the weather has been like. But strawberries are different; weather during their brief life span is hugely important. Enough rain to give a decent crop, but not so much that the berries get oversized and flavorless. Lots of sun - not so hot that the strawberry plants dry out, but enough to concentrate the sugars. A good strawberry year is like a great year in the vineyards - it doesn't come around that often, and the best fields in the best years are unforgettable.

steven

Strawberies and balsamic is fantastic, I usually add a quick grind of black pepper as well.

Tania

I have yet to try the delighful sounding strawberries-with-balsamic combination. Strawberry season will soon be here, and I cannot wait!

I love the absolute redness of the berries in your photos, by the way, not to mention the long stems. Now THOSE look like real strawberries!

Julie

I have yet to have a truly good strawberry this year, but just had my first pretty good batch. One of the things that always puzzles me about strawberries is how they can have such wonderful fragrance and still have no taste.

Pamela

I agree wholeheartedly, my best and first memory of strawberries are at a pick your own place just outside Hamilton (Scotland), picking strawberries with my aunt.

It was the first time I had seen such a place since I lived in the city (Glasgow - there was nowhere like this near where we lived).

The strawberries were juicy, sweet and more-ish. Mmmm

Rebecca

This may be a good year for strawberries in Pennsylvania; I bought some local berries at McGinnis Sisters that were mostly very good, and all the ones I've gotten at the Farmers' Market have been good so far.

The best strawberries I've ever eaten have come from the roadside markets in Quebec between NY state and Montreal; they're tiny, almost like wild strawberries, and the flavor is concentrated sweetness, so wonderful, and really reasonably priced, especially considering the labor that must go into picking such small berries.

Lynn D.

I think the variety of strawberry plant is very important. The really tasty varieties we remember from our youth have been superceded by more hardy, prolific and tasteless varieties. Occaisonally at farmers markets here in Oregon you can find a variety called Hood; it is out of this world. More readily available is a variety called Totem which is also good, and the other varieties aren't worth bothering with. I just had some farmers market totems with sugar and basalmic. Very, berry good!

lindy

Luisa-I think good strawberres live up to their romantic associations..they are sort of intoxicating, really. (and awfully disappointing when they turn out to be not good ones)
lobstersquad-I wonder why Spanish strawberries are not good. the heat? Lynn's-from the Pacific Northwest-come from a climate very similar to the English one. Here in Pittsburgh, we have extremes of heat and cold.
pyewacket-I like the comparison to wine grapes. Maybe, like wine grapes, the best ones are grown without irrigation, concentrating flavor?
steven- Tried the black pepper. It was excellent.
Tania-and red all through! lovely!
Julie-it is true, the supermarket strawberries do smell good..but it is as if they were sprayed with the smell-nothing inside.
Pamela-there is something about picking them that adds to it all. I'm a bit lazy for bulk berry picking these days-they are low, and hard on the back!
Rebecca-I planted some tiny wild-type strawberries when my parents had a country place some years ago. It had a very little garden, and I bought these plants and put them as a low border in the front of their flower beds. They only got a bowl or 2 of berries every year..but they were unbelievably sweet.
Lynn-if I ever am lucky enough to have a garden again, I will try to get some plants of the Hood variety. Do you grow berries?

Jen

The strawberries are indeed lovely. I have eaten most of mine plain, and given away about half of them to my sisters (I am hoping there might be more next week). I'd love to make jam; my youngest sister and I may be going to a pick-your-own farm soon, and hopefully we can find some good berries there.

Bakerina (on the road, in the Rockies!)

Oh, Lindy! I have been in Colorado for the past four days -- and preparing to go to Colorado for three days before that -- or else my manners would not have failed me so. Thank you, a hundred thousand times, for the link. Thank you also for this beautiful post, and for that berry picture, at which I can't stop looking. :)

I will be back in New York on Wednesday night, and with any luck, my manners should return by the weekend. Then again, it *is* New York I'm coming back to... ;)

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