Strawberry season in the South is fleeting. We have only a few short weeks to enjoy the fresh, juicy gem that has been deemed the “fruit of love.” Strawberries appear suddenly at farmers’ markets and you-pick farms—and then the really good ones are gone. Be mindful of when they are peaking in your region, and don’t be fooled by the ones that are picked early and hit the market too soon. Unlike some fruits, strawberries don’t get any sweeter after they’ve been harvested. The berries at the grocery store may look plump and ripe with coloring that’s just a shade less than what it should be, but if they were picked too soon (green tips are a giveaway), you will be disappointed by their taste and texture.
Although they are delicious when devoured out of hand one by one, strawberries are downright heavenly when paired with other fruits. And while the tart and tangy rhubarb has been one of its longtime partners, strawberries can play well with others too. From apricots to nectarines, these surprising in-season combinations are all delightful.