At the Farmers' Market: Winter Strawberries

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At the time of writing, the temperature in New York City was 30ºF. It was snowing to beat the band. All over the city, people huddled up to their radiators, except for those lucky people who came home to notes from the super saying the water pipes had burst and there would be no water or heat.

Meanwhile, here in Southern California, the high temperature is 75ºF, there is a nice breeze and brilliantly sunny skies, and the markets are full of the first strawberries of the year from Carlsbad and Irvine.

These strawberries are not the fragrant perfection we see in markets in June, when they have to compete with cherries and apricots for our affections, but what's available right now in the farmers' markets beats the Driscoll clamshells even at the height of those wooden facsimiles' season.

While they could use another week on the plants, they're perfect for making into jams and syrups, whether for beverages or French toast. By the time Valentine's Day rolls around, this crop of strawberries will be as flavorful as they get--and at $5 to $7 for three punnets, they're as cheap as they'll get this year.

We're sorry, New York. We'll save you some. Come thaw out for a while and sip on a homemade strawberry Bellini by the pool.


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