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How to grow and prepare strawberries

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Strawberry plants are finicky about planting depth. If you buy them potted, just slip them out of the pot and plant them at the same depth at which they were growing. Bare-root plants can be tricky. Cover the roots up to the crown, leaving the top of the crown aboveground. (The crown of the plant is the fleshy part where the leaves and stems meet the roots.)

If you grow strawberries in your backyard, you must be patient to ensure a good crop in your second year and for years afterward.

Challenging as it is, remove the flowers precocious enough to grow that first spring. This ensures strong plants that will give you ongoing bountiful crops. If you're growing everbearing or day-neutral varieties, you can allow a crop to develop in the fall.

Soon enough, you will have plenty of homegrown strawberries for Chef Linda’s recipe.

A versatile dessert

A few weeks ago, I (Linda) had the pleasure of doing a presentation on preparing Strawberries Romanoff for the Beech Island, S.C., Garden Club. I enjoyed every minute of being with these wonderful, charming women and making one of the recipes that is near and dear to my heart.

Strawberries always remind me of the coming spring. I know, I know, they show up in the cold winter, too, but spring is on my mind when I make a sponge cake and have fresh strawberries and cream, or when I make this recipe that my mother used quite often for Strawberries Romanoff.

Strawberries Romanoff is one of those very versatile, simple recipes. It becomes another dessert if you layer it with almond macaroons. Just make the recipe, put in a spoon of the strawberries in a pretty glass or crystal bowl, crumble on almond macaroons, layer in little whipped cream, and then strawberries again, and finish with a spoon of cream and sprinkle of almonds. You can layer it as high as you like.

Strawberries Romanoff

4 cups sliced or halved strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract in ½ cup water

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