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The Ultimate Guide to Fresh Strawberries and Perfect Strawberry Shortcake!

The Ultimate Guide to Fresh Strawberries and Perfect Strawberry Shortcake!

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June is here, and that means strawberry season is in full swing!

In Canada, this time of year is eagerly anticipated as we enjoy the abundance of juicy, red strawberries. What better way to celebrate than with the classic and delightful strawberry shortcake?

Let’s explore the magic of strawberry season in Canada, the charm of our locally grown strawberries, and the joy of making the perfect strawberry shortcake.


The Charm of Canadian Strawberries

Canada’s climate, with its cool springs and warm summers, creates the perfect conditions for growing strawberries. From the lush fields of British Columbia to the fertile grounds of Ontario and Quebec, Canadian strawberry farms are bustling with activity. These strawberries are known for their sweetness and vibrant flavor, and they evoke a sense of nostalgia and tradition, marking the beginning of summer.

During June and July, local farmers’ markets and grocery stores overflow with these fresh, luscious berries. The experience of picking strawberries at a local farm is a cherished activity for many families. It’s a wonderful way to connect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. There’s something uniquely satisfying about gathering your own fruit and tasting it fresh from the vine, still warm from the sun.

Supporting Local Farmers

Choosing locally grown strawberries is a great way to support local farmers and reduce your carbon footprint. Local strawberries are often fresher and more flavorful than those that have traveled long distances. By opting for local produce, you not only enjoy superior taste but also contribute to your community and the environment. Supporting local agriculture helps sustain family farms, ensures the preservation of open spaces, and keeps money circulating within the local economy.

The Tradition of Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is a timeless dessert that perfectly captures the essence of strawberry season. This delightful treat combines tender, crumbly biscuits, sweetened strawberries, and fluffy whipped cream. It’s a dessert that speaks to simplicity and elegance, allowing the natural flavors of the strawberries to shine.

The origins of strawberry shortcake date back to the mid-19th century, with its popularity growing as strawberries became more widely available. Traditionally, the dessert consists of a shortcake or biscuit base, layered with macerated strawberries and topped with whipped cream. The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors: the crumbly, slightly sweet biscuit, the juicy, tangy strawberries, and the light, airy cream.

Making the Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

While the basic elements of strawberry shortcake are simple, achieving the perfect balance can be an art form.

  1. Choose the Best Strawberries: The star of the show is the strawberries, so it’s essential to select the best ones. Look for berries that are bright red, firm, and fragrant. Local strawberries, picked at the peak of ripeness, will provide the best flavor and sweetness.
  2. Macerate the Strawberries: To enhance the flavor and create a lovely syrup, macerate the strawberries by mixing them with a bit of sugar and letting them sit for at least 30 minutes. This process draws out the natural juices and intensifies the sweetness of the berries.
  3. Perfecting the Biscuits: The biscuits should be tender and slightly sweet, providing a perfect contrast to the juicy strawberries. Use cold butter and handle the dough minimally to achieve a flaky texture. Baking the biscuits just until they’re golden brown ensures they’ll be light and airy.
  4. Whipping the Cream: Freshly whipped cream is a must for strawberry shortcake. Use heavy cream and whip it until soft peaks form, adding a touch of vanilla extract for extra flavor. Avoid over-whipping, as the cream can become grainy.
  5. Assembling the Shortcake: Slice the biscuits in half and layer them with the macerated strawberries and whipped cream. Allow some of the strawberry syrup to soak into the biscuit for added moisture and flavor. Top with an extra dollop of cream and a few more strawberries for a beautiful presentation.

Celebrating Strawberry Season

Strawberry season is a time to celebrate the abundance of fresh, local produce and the joys of simple, delicious desserts. Hosting a strawberry-themed gathering can be a wonderful way to enjoy the season with friends and family. Consider incorporating strawberries into other dishes, such as salads, beverages, and appetizers, to highlight their versatility.


Visiting local farmers’ markets and strawberry farms is also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the season. Engage with local farmers, learn about their growing practices, and savor the freshest strawberries available. These experiences not only deepen your appreciation for the fruit but also connect you to the community and the land.

  • Strawberries and Bees: Did you know that strawberries depend on bees for pollination? Without the help of these hardworking pollinators, our strawberry plants wouldn’t produce the delicious berries we love. Supporting local strawberry farms also means supporting the vital role bees play in our ecosystem.
  • Nutrient Powerhouses: Did you know that strawberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants? A single serving provides more vitamin C than an orange, along with a good dose of fiber and folate. They’re a healthy and delicious addition to any diet!
  • Strawberry Varieties: There are over 600 varieties of strawberries worldwide, each with its own unique flavor, size, and texture. In Canada, popular varieties include Annapolis, Cavendish, and Jewel. These varieties thrive in our climate, producing the sweet and juicy berries we love in our desserts.

The Joy of Tradition

Strawberry shortcake is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of tradition and the simple pleasures of summer. Making strawberry shortcake can be a cherished ritual, passed down through generations and enjoyed by young and old alike. It’s a dessert that brings people together, creating memories and moments of joy.

As you savor each bite of strawberry shortcake this season, take a moment to appreciate the journey from field to fork. The vibrant strawberries, lovingly grown by local farmers, the tender biscuits, and the freshly whipped cream all come together to create a dessert that’s both timeless and delightful.

Strawberry season in Canada is a magical time, offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty and flavor of fresh strawberries. Whether you’re picking them yourself or buying from a local market, these berries bring a burst of summer to your table. And what better way to celebrate than with a classic strawberry shortcake, a dessert that embodies the essence of the season and the joy of simple, delicious food.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Strawberries

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Cream Cheese Mousse

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (28gr)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream, chilled (5oz)

Biscuits

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour (260gr)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cold (2oz)
  • 1 cup whipping cream, cold (8oz)

Instructions
 

  • Clean strawberries, remove stems, and cut into quarters
  • In a mixing bowl, add sugar to cut strawberries and set aside in the refrigerator

Cream Cheese Mousse

  • Using a mixer, beat cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
  • Beat whipping cream in another bowl until medium peaks form.
  • Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in 3 additions.
  • Cover the mousse and refrigerate.

Biscuits

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a cheese grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients.
  • Work the butter and flour mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs. 
  • Add whipping cream, stirring with a fork until mixture is evenly moist. (If the dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.) 
  • Working gently, bring the mixture together with your hands until a dough forms.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently 4-5 times.
  • Shape dough into a disc, approx 1” thick, cut into six (6) or eight (8) wedges.
  • Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • Brush tops of scones with remaining cream.
  • Bake until edges of scones are golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Assemble

  • Cut the biscuit in half, place bottom half on plate, spoon on some of the strawberries with their juice.
  • Top with a dollop of cream cheese mousse, then the biscuit top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.

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