Strawberry season is all too fleeting. As soon as we get the email that the strawberries are ripe and ready for picking, we go into hoarding mode. Similar to squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, we pick and pick until our freezers are full of strawberries in gallon-sized bags. We pick and process until we have enough berries that we can enjoy them deep into the winter (and until our hands are permanently stained pink).
With the end of the season rapidly approaching and our freezer full of 40 lbs of strawberries, it is time to take a breath and think about making some delicious summer treats with the few remaining pounds that are hanging around the house. First on deck, a strawberry granita. If you aren’t familiar with the granita, come and sit by the pool with me so we can discuss.
Granitas are quite possibly the perfect summer dessert. Icy, clean, and fresh, they are a grown-up version of what you used to make with your Snoopy Sno-Cone machine. They are also very easy to make and don’t require any special equipment (i.e., no ice cream maker needed). Heaped high in a bowl or mixed with some sparkling wine in a champagne glass, granitas are a lovely way to celebrate the summer.
Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled
6 tbls sugar
1 cup water
a few drops of lemon juice
Slice the strawberries and place them in a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Let the strawberries macerate for about an hour.
Pour the strawberries, their juices, the water, and the lemon juice into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the seeds.
Place the mixture in a 9x13x2 inch metal, plastic, or glass dish (you can use larger or smaller dishes, make sure to adjust your total freezing). Put it in the freezer and let it sit for an hour. At the end of the hour, use a whisk or a fork to break up any ice crystals that have formed, raking from the sides towards the center of the dish. This article offers a good overview of how to make granita (and some yummy-sounding recipes too). Keep doing this every 30 minutes or so until you have a pile of ice crystals (stir more frequently as you get closer to frozen). If at any point, the mixture gets too hard, let is thaw a bit on the counter and then resume stirring. It should take bout 3-4 hours, depending on your freezer, pan, sugar content, etc. (if you were to spoon some into a bowl at the slushy phase, I wouldn’t tell).
Serve in pretty glasses, bowls, or any other serving vessel. Garnish with fresh mint, or top with some sparking wine, champagne, or prosecco. Serves 4-6 as a dessert, many more as a palate cleanser.