FOOD: Let’s hear it for strawberries!

“I love everything about strawberries!” says Jean Hannemann, manager at Linvilla Orchards
“I love everything about strawberries!” says Jean Hannemann, manager at Linvilla Orchards PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN
Find this signature shortcake at the Brandywine Strawberry Festival.
Find this signature shortcake at the Brandywine Strawberry Festival. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDYWINE HEALTH FOUNDATION

Berry sweet details

Don’t miss the famous shortcake at the Strawberry Festival Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 3 on the grounds of Brandywine Hospital. Come for the food, fireworks, rides and games, benefitting the Coatesville community. Visit www.brandywinestrawberryfestival.com.

Or pick your own berries at three other events Saturday June 2:

Head to Linvilla Orchards in Media for its annual Strawberry Festival from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (rain date June 3). Learn how to make strawberry jam and don’t miss the unveiling of “Delaware County’s largest strawberry shortcake.” It’s 12 feet long and weighs about 500 pounds! Visit www.linvilla.com/family-fun/strawberry-festival.

At the eighth annual Jollyview Jam Strawberry Music Festival in Oley, enjoy live bands, free hayrides, face painting and more from 2 to 8 p.m. (Picking starts at 8 a.m.). “Everything we provide is local,” said Jillian Prout of Prout’s Jollyview Farm. Visit www.facebook.com/Prouts-Jollyview-Farm-108492249238883. And at Philadelphia’s Historic Strawberry Mansion, check out a beekeeping demonstration, strawberry dessert contest, free tours and family fun from noon to 2 p.m. It’s the 10th annual Strawberry Festival in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchard Project and East Park Revitalization Alliance. Visit www.historicstrawberrymansion.org.

With a name like Historic Strawberry Mansion, “naturally, we have strawberries,” said Connie Ragsdale, president of the Fairmount Park landmark. “In the 1880s and 1890s, people would come to pick wild strawberries.”

In fact, “there are still wild strawberries that are growing on the property,” she added, “teeny little strawberries, which are much sweeter.”

Taste for yourself. It’s strawberry time!

“The moisture’s actually been really good for the plants. The harvest looks like it’s going to be amazing,” said Jillian Prout of Prout’s Jollyview Farm in Oley. “The rain makes the berries big, and then the sun makes them sweet and red.”

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The color, the flavor, the smell of those juicy, sun-kissed gems ... who can resist?

“There’s nothing like a vine-ripened strawberry right out of the field,” agreed Jean Hannemann, manager at Linvilla Orchards in Media, where strawberries cover four acres. “It’s a primary crop for us.”

You could call June 2 “Strawberry Festival Saturday” with celebrations at Linvilla, Prout’s and Historic Strawberry Mansion. Plus starting tomorrow, the 46th annual Strawberry Festival opens on the grounds of Coatesville’s Brandywine Hospital, attracting 25,000 visitors.

What began as nurses raising scholarship money has “grown exponentially since then,” said Stephanie Vargas, Brandywine Health Foundation’s associate director of development and communication. “Strawberries are actually my favorite fruit. I just love that they’re easy to eat, and they’re sweet and delicious.”

A festival favorite: strawberry shortcake. At home, try a strawberry roll cake, strawberry-flavored honey butter or strawberry lemon crumble bars.

“I love the brightness of the lemon and the deep, rich red colors and the pretty pinks when you mix the strawberries and the lemon,” described Prout, who’s hoping for a repeat of last year’s stellar strawberry season.

“My back was hurting after those four weeks,” she said with a laugh.

Honey Butter

Ingredients

1 pint strawberries, whole

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

Instructions

In a food processor, puree the strawberries and transfer into a saucepan. Add the honey and lemon juice and boil while stirring for 3 minutes or until thickened. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl, cream together butter and strawberry mixture. Let stand in a cool place for 1 hour to let the flavors develop.

RECIPE COURTESY OF HISTORIC STRAWBERRY MANSION

Strawberry Lemon Crumble Bars

Ingredients

Crust and crumble topping:

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

1 large egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, or sour cream

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

¼ cup all-purpose flour

Strawberry layer:

2 heaping cups diced strawberries

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Add flour to thicken if necessary

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil.

Crumble layer: Melt butter, add sugar and whisk; add flour and salt. Stir until crumbles form. Set ¾ cup of the mix aside. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan and pack down mixture to a hard, flat crust.

Filling: In a medium bowl, add egg, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk to combine until smooth. Add flour and pour filling onto crust; set aside.

Strawberry layer: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and toss to combine. Add flour until thickened. Spread strawberry mixture onto filling layer. Evenly sprinkle leftover crust onto strawberry layer and bake for 60 to 70 minutes until the edges bubble. Cool for 2 hours.

RECIPE COURTESY OF PROUT’S JOLLYVIEW FARM

Strawberry Roll

Ingredients

4 eggs, separated

¾ cup sugar, divided

½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup cake flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups heavy cream

1 pound strawberries

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, beat egg whites until almost stiff. Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar and continue beating until mixture is very stiff. Fold yolk mixture into egg-white mixture; sift dry ingredients and fold into egg mixture carefully. Bake in a waxed paper-lined 10 ½-by-15-inch pan for 12 minutes. When baked, carefully run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake onto clean dish towel sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Remove waxed paper. Trim crusts. Roll quickly with a fresh sheet of waxed paper on inside of roll. Wrap in sugared towel; cool. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and sweeten to taste. Slice ¾ of the strawberries, reserving some whole ones for garnish. Unroll cake; remove paper; spread with sweetened whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. Roll again. Place on serving dish seam-side-down. Frost with remaining whipped cream and garnish with whole strawberries.

RECIPE COURTESY OF EDITH SHEPARD