Harvest of the Month: Strawberries

— Island Grown Initiative

Fresh, local strawberries make June a delicious month. Whenever I taste my first homegrown strawberry of the summer, I wonder how I tolerate grocery store strawberries for the rest of the year. June’s full moon is even traditionally called the Strawberry Moon, because of the abundance of ripe strawberries during this time of year.

Strawberries are consistently at the top of the “dirty dozen” list of produce grown with the highest levels of pesticides, so try to buy local and organic when you can. They’re a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, potassium, and antioxidants. Local strawberries can be found at Morning Glory Farm during the month of June, as well as at the West Tisbury Farmers Market.

Strawberries are delicious chopped up on cereal, oatmeal, or even a salad! Frozen strawberries are a healthy and refreshing snack for children on a hot day, or they can be blended with a banana and some milk for a quick smoothie.

You can also test out this month’s featured recipe — Strawberry Chia Seed Jam.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam 
Recipe by Gabrielle Chronister

2 cups fresh local or organic strawberries (use frozen when out of season)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the strawberries, stirring them around in their juices until they begin to soften.

Once the berries have softened a bit, use a potato masher or fork to break them up even more. Let the mixture come to a slow boil, stirring continuously.

Once you see big bubbles break the surface, add the chia seeds and honey, stir to combine, and lower the heat to a simmer.

Continue stirring the mixture over low heat for about 5 minutes, and then add lemon juice. Stir to combine, and remove pan from the heat.

Pour mixture into a Mason jar and let cool for 20 minutes before covering with a tight lid.

The chia seeds need some time to achieve the gelatinous texture, so let the jam cool; then put your jar of jam in the fridge for a few hours, and it will achieve the perfect texture.

If you enjoy your jam smoother, add the mixture to your blender and blend before pouring into the jar.

Enjoy your healthy jam over some oatmeal, in a classic PB&J, on toasted sourdough, served with crackers, or on top of yogurt. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for 10 days, and freeze for up to three months.