Last weekend, the Kid and I picked about three pounds of strawberries. I had already made a little batch of jam this year from some store bought berries (and I'm waiting for the blueberries before I really go crazy), so we had them all fresh this year.
A handful of them did not even make it home. I kept trying to persuade the Kid to put them in my basket, but he thought his mouth was better. (Then, with his strawberry covered face, he flirted his way into a "bolf cart" ride to our car from one of the kids who lived at the farm. After chasing a toddler around a strawberry patch for half an hour, I was not sad about that!)
But the strawberries that did make it home were hulled and sprinkled with just the tiniest amount of sugar--not because they needed them, but more as a preservative. The chickens enjoyed the tops, of course.
Several strawberries were eaten straight up, but a bunch more went into a salad we had for dinner. Butter lettuce, lightly cooked red onions, capers, knobs of goat cheese, and a little vinaigrette--the Kid and I kept trading back and forth for our favorite parts.
The Kid: Can I have your strawberries, mama?
Me: I don't know, can I steal your cheese?
Incidentally, I make vinaigrette by shaking together about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, a glug of honey, and salt and pepper, all in a mason jar. Since I had the vinegar out anyway, I dumped a few cups of it into a big jar and tossed in some strawberries and juice to make strawberry vinegar. (I'll let it sit for about a week before straining off the strawberries.)
Then, the next night, to celebrate Sweet Husband's homecoming from a short work trip, we finished off the berries with a little berries-and-yogurt dessert.
While I like preserving strawberries too, it was a fun change to come up with ways we could eat them fresh before they went bad. There's something quite wonderful about being flush with strawberries!