Berries by the basketful

Adventures await in local strawberry fields


Get outside and get pickin’. Strawberry season has arrived, and those luscious berries beckon. So gather up your gang and venture out to one of the many “u-pick” growers for a day in the berry patch.

Strawberry season reaches its peak here with the transition from spring to summer, as the fruit grows and ripen throughout May and June. Of course, local is always best, so skip the California and Florida fruit from the supermarket and pick your own.

When you return with your bounty, settle in to whip up some yummy strawberry treats. These fresh gems are always terrific on their own, of course. But when used in a recipe? They’ll jazz up any meal.


Double Strawberry Cheesecake

A classic cheesecake takes on added flavor with the addition of some luscious berries.


Graham cracker crust

  •  1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9-1/2 crackers)
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  •  5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Filling and topping

  •  16 ounces strawberries
  •  4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
  •  1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •  1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  4 large eggs
  •  1 cup sour cream


Prepare graham cracker crust:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Stir graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together in a medium bowl. Press into bottom and at least 1-inch up sides of a 9-inch non-stick springform pan (if pan is not nonstick, brush first with melted butter). Bake until crust is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 300° F.


Then prepare filling and topping:

Hull 1/2 of the strawberries and puree in a blender or food processor. You should have about 3/4 cup puree. Beat cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups sugar in an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, on low speed, beating well after each addition, and scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in strawberry puree until blended.

Pour batter into cooled pan. Bake cheesecake about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until edges are just set and center jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack 5 minutes.

Stir together sour cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Spread sour cream mixture on top of cheesecake in an even layer. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Turn oven off and prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon. Let cool in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place in refrigerator and chill until cold throughout, 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Using the remaining strawberries, halve them and arrange in concentric circles on top of cheesecake to serve.


Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

  •  1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour  
  •  1-1/2 cups sugar  
  •  1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  •  16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  •  1 cup rolled oats 
  • 2 pounds rhubarb, strings removed, stalks cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices 
  •  4 pints strawberries, sliced 

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a food processor, pulse together 1-1/2 cups of the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the oats and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.

In another bowl, stir together the rhubarb, strawberries, the remaining 1/4 cup flour, and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar.

Spread the fruit filling in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Using your fingers, press the topping into large clumps and scatter it over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and crisp, about 1 hour. Alternatively, divide the fruit and topping among eight 1/2-cup ramekins and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.


Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut milk (or almond milk or your preferred milk)
  •  1 cup strawberries (tops removed)
  •  1 banana
  •  1 cup frozen pineapple chunks

Combine all of your ingredients in your blender in the order that they are listed (liquid on the bottom and frozen on top). Blend until smooth.