Strawberry fields forever…

Still strawberry season. I bought 4 quarts today, fearing they are going soon, and that the predicted rain won’t help them either. The ripest ones were lunch today, drippy and red and sweet all the way through. They are beautiful medium and dark reds, and they just don’t show up in a photo as beautiful as they are. 

The ones in grocery stores that are shipped from far away are like tomatoes  –  the varieties are meant to be shipped, so they don’t have the sweet soft juiciness of the local berries that can be picked and eaten and don’t last more than a few days after they are ripe. even bringing them home,  jostling gently in the bag, bruises them, leaves juice in the bag behind them. I need to get a market basket where fragile foods can be nestled, rather than jostling in the bottom of a (reuseable) bag. I froze a quart or so of them. washed gently, air dried, pinched the stem off and froze on a tray. Then will bundle them into a freezer bag and take out as needed.

Supper tonight: strawberry shortcake! The berries & biscuit type. I don’t make good southern biscuits, but I have a never-fail recipe for me.  And while I sometimes roll them out and cut them with a biscuit cutter, more often I pat the dough into a rectangle, and then cut square biscuits. Why not? Quicker and easier than round, a light brown crust around the edges, and sooner to eat. And then let the berries macerate most of the afternoon (which means cutting them up and mixing with a little sugar, stirring occasionally and allowing the juices to be drawn out). And the riper the berries, the less sugar one needs.

Shortcake Biscuits:

 3 cups flour, sifted before measuring

 2 Tbsp. sugar

 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 egg, beaten 

3/4 cup whole milk

Sift dry ingredients together, cut in shortening. In another bowl, combine egg and milk, beat with fork. Add to dry ingredients all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead 15 times. Roll out to 1″ thickness. Cut into 2″ rounds or into squares and place on ungreased baking sheet (using parchment paper makes clean-up easier). Bake in  a 450 F. oven 12-15  minutes or until golden.

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