Fresh from a strawberry farm in Sweden.Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson and Jan-Erik Nilsson for CMC 2009
I’ve always known strawberries to come bottled in sweet jams. In fact, ‘strawberry’ as a flavour was so common when I was growing up in Singapore, where you have them in almost everything from milk to kiddy toothpaste, that I thought strawberry was common commodity even without actually having tasted the real fruit.
My very first encounter with a strawberry farm was in Genting Highlands, Malaysia when I was about eight years old. Genting Highlands is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and I found it a scenic region with cooler temperatures than the tropical heat of the lowlands. I remember Genting Highlands because every morning, the grounds of the hotel where we stayed would be covered in thick condensation, a cool fog that made you feel as if you were walking in clouds.
I liked strawberry jam but the experience of visiting a strawberry farm in Genting Highlands, changed my understanding of strawberries completely! I remember my parents buying farm made strawberry jam from the farm we visited, and after one taste of what I thought was the most decadent strawberry jam, I never liked the highly processed versions found on the sheleves at the Singapore grocery stores.
The strawberries, just before they disappeared!
The digression on Genting Highlands strawberries is just because Midsummer weekend is around the corner here in Sweden and we’ve tried our best, in the past few days, to seek out freshly picked Swedish grown strawberries. And today, we found some!
These strawberries are smaller and a deeper red than the hydroponically grown strawberries that are also found at the local grocers. So for those in Sweden, home-grown Swedish strawberries are in season right now and it’s a recommended buy!
A light stew in sugar and they make a perfect topping to ice-cream or have them fresh atop some traditional strawberry fruit cake with cream!