photo: sally schneider

Lush, fragrant summer strawberries are in their last week or two at farm stands. We bought some home and were inspired to serve them in the giant horn spoon Maria Robledo had given us, for an unexpected presentation. We ate them right off the stems, no powdered sugar necessary. It reminded us that there are all kinds of charming and unexpected vessels you could use for serving summer berries. We imagined an our collection of big odd serving spoons filled with berries and arrayed on the table.

If you decide to remove the hulls before serving the berries or cooking with them, don’t throw them away: they can make a great instant flavoring for balsamic vinegar. Just throw the hulls, with the bits of berry flesh clinging to them, as well as any over-ripe berries, into a jar and splash enough balsamic vinegar over to cover.

Let them sit a few hours, then strain the vinegar off. The balsamic will take on an extraordinary perfume and flavor of strawberry which I use to dress berries, white peaches, apricots and musk melon. Children love this vinegar on their salad greens, and cucumber slices. Be sure to make this vinegar with really ripe, fragrant berries.

You can use the same method for making Cherry Vinegar, with the last of the season’s cherries.

Related posts: how to serve fresh cherries
warm fresh cherries with leaves
3 crazy-simple summer desserts from ‘a new way to cook’ (and a reminder to enter our giveaway)
recipe: strawberries in beaujolais sauce
brown sugar butter cookie dough tarts with summer fruit (recipe)
sally talks cherries on splendid table 

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