There’s nothing like fresh and local in-season strawberries. As soon as June hits, we’re all dreaming of those sweet and succulent red fruits! In the modern age of farming and importing, most of us are lucky enough to munch on strawberries all year round, but during strawberry season, you can taste the difference, whether you are picking straight off the vine or buying directly from a local farmer’s market.
Strawberry season means an unlimited amount of strawberry dishes! To ensure success when making your recipes, you need to make sure you have the best ingredients. Choosing strawberries is more than just a matter of plucking any one berry off the vine or picking up any basket off the shelf— it’s a Science of Selection. Here are some tips on how to choose the best strawberries for your dish.
What to look for: Fresh strawberries are in-season over summer in many regions of Canada, with the peak season being from June to July. Quebec produces over 50% of the country’s strawberry harvest, so Canadian Farmers know their berries. For baking, almost over-ripe strawberries will be the juiciest and most flavourful. Vendors at a farmers’ market often know what recommended ripeness you need depending on what you are baking! But as a general rule of thumb, strawberries that are a vivid red (from the point to the stem), fragrant, plump, and that have no soft spots, will make whatever you are preparing absolutely mouth-watering.
How to store: If you plan on using your berries the same day you purchase them, keep them on the counter (they bake best at room temperature). If your strawberry baking will only be in a few days, wait until then to wash and hull them. The best way is to lay them out on a plate lined with a paper towel to help keep those carefully selected berries exactly the way they were when you bought them. It’s best to use them within 2 days, so try not to buy them too far in advance!
Strawberries are one of the most versatile summer ingredients because they have two main tastes. The first and most obvious being sweetness, and the second, which allows you to use them in more savoury dishes such as arugula and goat cheese salad, is tart. If you’re looking to try a savoury strawberry recipe, here’s a tip: pair them with balsamic vinegar. You’ll thank us later! A savoury strawberry dish is an adventurous endeavor that may surprise you, but will also be pleasing to the palate.
Today, however, we’re going with a traditional recipe to celebrate strawberry season. And before those with a pastry-phobia click away to another page, let us just say that you don’t need to be a pie-pro to make this glorious strawberry dessert. Recipe developer and blogger Allison Sklar, who is also the mastermind behind the delicious creations at Savoury Sweets Bakery, guides us through classic strawberry crumble bars with an infusion of our favourite flavours, which makes a perfect dessert for family gatherings or everyday! Plus, we bet you have most of the ingredients already in your pantry and fridge!
This recipe is so easy that you can make it in a snap and pair it with almost anything you want: from a scoop of ice cream and a simple drizzle of cream, to a dollop of whipped cream, crème anglaise, vanilla cream, crème fraîche, or sour cream. These are just a few ideas to inspire you to make this dessert your own!
So, while the berries are at their best, let’s get baking! You don’t want to miss out on hitting this berry’s sweet spot.
- 1 cup butter , softened, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup large flake rolled oats (not instant)
- 3 cups chopped strawberries
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Juice & zest from one lemon
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine butter, sugar and flour in a food processor and pulse until crumbly texture forms.
Add oats and pulse a few more times, until mixture begins to stick together.
Divide dough into three.
Press one third of the dough onto the bottom of a parchment-lined 10" x 7" x 3" baking pan. Our thinkkitchen Green Rectangular Baker does just the trick!
In a medium mixing bowl, combine strawberries with cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and zest.
Place berries on top of crust.
Sprinkle with remaining crumble mixture.
Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes, or until top is golden.
Allow to cool to room temperature before placing it, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.
Once they are firmly chilled (it’s worth the wait), cut into squares & serve!
Here to help you make the most of this sweet time of year,
A professionally trained pastry chef and a qualified art teacher, Allison combined her two passions and founded Savoury Sweets Bakery in 2014. Allison’s creations are as unique as they are delicious – never using fondant, her cakes are all decorated using fluffy buttercream frosting, accented with handmade fabric flowers and customized hand-drawn toppers. Sweet tables are one of her favourite things to cater, as she gets to show off her talent for making chewy cookies, decadent brownies & her famous pie squares. Among her many talents, Allison also specializes in a variety of vegan baked goods, so everyone at your next gathering can indulge in a little something sweet. From weddings to birthdays, big or small, Allison does it all. Check her out on Instagram, on Facebook, or on her website.