Seasonal Recipe Guide: Strawberries / by Alexa Arnold

Our CSA share kicked off this week, so Grayson and I are enjoying an abundance of local strawberries, bok choy, arugula, radishes, kale and eggs in most of our meals. For those less familiar with this concept, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a farm-share model in which customers buy shares of a farmer's bounty at the beginning of the season, in exchange for weekly boxes of vegetables, fruits, eggs, flowers and meat. It's an arrangement that benefits both the consumer and the farmer. Early season payments help cover the burden of the up-front costs of farming, consumers get exposed to new vegetables and new recipes, and the partnership evokes a feeling of "we're all in this together", breaking bread and sharing the risks of farming as a community. I've been a member of a handful of CSAs in the past, but this is our first in NYC, and it just so happens that the pick up location is in the big community garden next to our building. 

Recognizing that seasonal eating and cooking can feel foreign to some, I'm kicking off a new series on this blog: a round-up of seasonal recipes featuring vegetables or fruits found in my weekly CSA box. 

If you're like me, the beginning of strawberry season is something your heart yearns for all year long. Growing up, we had a small patch of wild berries growing in my mom's garden. My sisters and I would patiently wait for them to ripen, keeping an eye on them all spring until they were ruby red and ready to be plucked from their vines. If we were able to resist popping them into our mouths all at once, we'd bring them inside for mom to rinse, cut the tops off, and serve with a bowl of sugar for dipping. It's an afternoon snack I'll occasionally still indulge in. 

If you have enough self control to hold off eating them by the pint, here are a handful of wildly creative, mouth-watering recipes with strawberries at the forefront.

1. This salad (plus, bacon): Farro, Kale, and Strawberry Salad with Bacon and Chili-Dusted Pepitas // Food52
2. Pickling strawberries is new news to me, but I can't wait to try (and save the brine for a yummy cocktail): Pickled Strawberries // Seasonally Jane
3. The cutest, tiniest pies: Strawberry Basil Hand Pies // Brooklyn Supper
4. A simple tart with fresh berries (and rose petals!): Simple Strawberry Tart // Apt 2 Baking Co.
5. Perhaps the most perfect afternoon treat ever: Two-Ingredient Strawberry Milkshake // Faring Well
6. These popsicles made my spring last year: Strawberry, Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles // Smitten Kitchen