But, first things first, what do you look for when choosing the perfect strawberry?
Strawberries can be purchased year round, but purchasing them when they are in season locally gives you the freshest possible fruit. Strawberries are in-season from April to June, so get your strawberry fix during this time. When buying strawberries look for ones that are bright red. You want to avoid strawberries with white and green areas around the stem. These are not going to be as juicy or plump. Make sure the strawberries are not overly ripe and avoid strawberries with dark spots or soft spots.
Once you get home with your strawberries, you will want to use them the same day or refrigerate them. If you are going to refrigerate the strawberries lay them in a bowl or on a plate that is lined with a towel. Use strawberries within 2 days of refrigerating for best taste. Also avoid cutting or rinsing the strawberries until you are ready to use them.
There are a number of ways to serve strawberries. They are perfect in a bowl with a little homemade whipped cream or on top of homemade vanilla ice cream. They are great on salads and sliced in lemonade. But if you feel like baking them into desserts, here is my absolute favorite strawberry recipe.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups butter at room temperature, unsalted
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 egg whites
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl whisk with electric mixer (or hand mixer) butter, 2 cups of sugar, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add in half the flour, beat, add in milk, beat, and add in remaining flour. Continue to mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they start to foam. Add in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until combined. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture and divide mixture between a 12-cup muffin pan lined with paper liners. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until cupcakes are firm and cooked through.
Strawberry Buttercream Icing
- 4 egg whites
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups strawberry jam
- 12-24 strawberries
In a small saucepan simmer some water. Place a heatproof bowl onto the saucepan and add the egg whites and sugar. Whisk gently until the sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm. Remove from heat and whisk with electric mixer on high until the eggs are fluffy. Let cool. Switch mixer attachment to a paddle attachment and mix on medium-low. Add in butter and beat about 5 minutes until smooth. Then add in vanilla and beat for another minute or two. Finally remove bowl from mixer and add in the strawberry jam. Mix until frosting is smooth.
Now that you have your cupcakes and your frosting, cool the cupcakes on a wire rack until nice and cool. Top each cupcake with the strawberry jam frosting and then garnish with one or two fresh strawberries. These cupcakes are beautiful and big hit for any party or just as a nice snack for your children.
What is your favorite thing to make with fresh strawberries?