More berries, more problems

It seems the more strawberries are bred to grow bigger, travel farther, be healthier and get tougher, they seem to be less like strawberries and more like foam-rubber balls. Gone are the strawberries that have to be eaten within the day, that are blood-red throughout, that ache with flavor, and that drip juice down your fingers and stain teeth scarlet.

Still, these cumbersome, disappointing strawberries we’ve all grown used to can be redeemed. For a quick cooked strawberry jam, toss each cup of chopped berries with 2 tablespoons of sugar, a spritz of lemon and cook in a saucepot over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until thick and jammy.

If you want something simpler, toss the chopped berries with thyme, sugar and orange-blossom water and macerate for 10 minutes for an ephemeral treat spooned over yogurt. You can also do as the Italians do and toss the berries with balsamic vinegar and ground black pepper for an eclectic and worldly dessert. Lastly, never forget that any pie or scone can give new life to a boring berry.