by Kelly Madey of A Bucks County Kitchen
My love affair with strawberries began at an early age.
I can remember stepping on to the back porch of my grandmother’s house,
Greeted by the sweet scent of sun ripened strawberries from her garden.
As I navigated through the clover filled grass to get to the patch of strawberries,
I carefully avoided the bees that had stung the bottom of my feet more than a few times,
But not enough for me to consider wearing shoes.
Just barely taller than the strawberry plants myself,
I picked (and ate) them by the handful,
Thus acquiring the nickname Strawberry Shortcake
Long before the cartoon character of the same name;
And when it was time to go in for lunch,
I learned that if I stretched out the bottom of my shirt,
I could maximize the number of strawberries that I could carry
Back to the porch;
And while everyone else enjoyed afternoon sandwiches,
I was content to eat strawberries;
No sugar. No whipped cream;
And to this day, my preferred method of eating strawberries is still the same;
Only nowadays I no longer use my shirt as a carrying vessel,
Because I am pretty sure that it would be in violation of the parenting code of conduct,
As established by my two teenage sons.
If you are not quite the strawberry purist like me,
Here are a few ridiculously easy recipes
That showcase the fabulous strawberries of Bucks County.
These beauties are from Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury. I couldn’t leave without also taking their amazing strawberry jam with me.
The fact that I ate half the quart of strawberries before I even arrived home
Is a pretty certain indication of just how delicious they are.
The first recipe for Strawberry Ricotta Crostini takes advantage of the fact that it is also grilling season.
I sliced up half a loaf of crusty French bread from Crossroads Bake Shop in Doylestown.
I brushed the bread with olive oil, and grilled it until crispy
This piqued my neighbor’s interest.
I mixed a few tablespoons of local honey from Buckingham Valley Honey with ricotta cheese, fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.
I dolloped as much ricotta as each toasted piece of bread would hold, then topped it with sliced strawberries.
I finished with another drizzle of honey, a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, and fresh minced basil.
My neighbors could no longer restrain themselves. They brought over wine, and a party was born.
Strawberry Ricotta Crostini
8 slices of crusty French bread
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
Cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt, to taste
6-8 strawberries, sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Coarse sea salt to taste
- Brush bread with olive oil and grill until nicely crisped on both sides.
- Stir together the ricotta cheese, honey, pepper, and salt.
- Divide ricotta over toasted bread. Top with strawberry slices and basil.
- Drizzle a little more honey over crostini. Finish with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and extra black pepper to taste.
The next recipe is an effervescent strawberry spin to classic lemonade.
I cooked a cup and a half of fresh strawberries
Along with sugar and water until the sugar was dissolved. Once cooled, I pureed the strawberry sugar syrup in a blender, then strained the seeds.
I added this to fresh squeezed lemon juice,
And sparkling mineral water which gives it a nice fizzy quality that my kids love.
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
1 ½ cups strawberries, trimmed and halved
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 ½ cups sparkling mineral water
Extra strawberries for garnish
- Place strawberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Let cool.
- Blend strawberry sugar syrup in a blender, then strain seeds.
- Place sugar syrup in a serving pitcher along with the lemon juice and mineral water. Stir together, then chill until ready to serve.
- Garnish glasses with strawberries.
The last way to simply enjoy strawberries is really not a recipe at all. I heat local Rocky Ridge Organic maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat for a few minutes.
I remove it from the heat and add sliced strawberries for the perfect pancake or waffle topping.
Happy Strawberry season Bucks County!
This delicious article was provided by Kelly Madey of A Bucks County Kitchen.
Kelly is a blue ribbon baker, who sometimes bakes competitively. Her original, award winning recipes have been published by local and national media including the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, General Mills, Organic Gardening Magazine, Good Morning America, Better Recipes, McCormick, and Nestle. She is a two time champion of the best chocolate cake in Pennsylvania, having won the 2008 Hershey Cocoa Classic, and the 2013 PA Preferred Chocolate Cake Contest.
A proud member of the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, Kelly lives in Doylestown with her husband and sons. She bakes homemade layer cakes from scratch and sells them to the locals fro her impeccably clean, licensed and inspected kitchen.