Appetizers

Strawberry Salsa

FB_IMG_1499257181087

FB_IMG_1499257181087The best strawberries are always the ones you eat on the drive following a stop at a U-pick or farmstand. Driving down sunny Valley roads eating an entire box of strawberries while throwing the stems out your rolled-down car window: that’s my idea of summer! Great berries are found everywhere, but some of my favourites are found close to where I live.

Morse’s Farm in Berwick has exquisite conventionally grown berries available in flats or pick-your-own. Gate Hill Farm in Burlington is your best bet for beautiful spray-free berries you can pick on the North Mountain, where it’s always a little cooler. Closer to Wolfville the options abound, from Taproot’s certified organic fields to Stirling’s famous U-Pick.

Once you have your berries at home, it’s a race against the clock. Strawberries want to be eaten, jammed or frozen pretty much right away. Freezing is easy. Just place hulled berries on a baking sheet in a single layer, let freeze solid, then bag up and stick in a far corner of the freezer until you unearth them with delight in January. As far as strawberry jam goes, we in my family are deeply devoted to freezer jam, the kind you make with raw berries, sugar and chia seeds or freezer jam pectin. It tastes of pure summer, all winter long, because it is never cooked.
Of course the best way to use your berries is to just eat them right up.
Here’s a delicious recipe to try as a starter or afternoon nibble when you’ve spent the day in the berry patch!
Strawberry Salsa
A glass of Jost’s Muscat or Avondale Sky’s Drops of Amber would be sublime with this juicy, fruity flavour explosion.

2 cups diced Strawberries
1 medium Tomato, finely diced
½ cup minced Onion, thinly sliced Green Onion, or chopped Chives
1 Jalapeno, minced (remove seeds to keep it on the milder side if you like) or 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Mint if you have it
A few thinly sliced Garlic Scapes if you have some
½ teaspoon ground Cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar

Combine the strawberries, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno or hot sauce, cilantro, mint, and garlic scapes (if using) in a medium bowl and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with the optional cumin, salt and sugar. Stir it all up, then taste and add a little more seasoning if needed. Serve with tortilla chips or as a topper for a simple quesadilla.