it’s the berries

Can there be anything better than a bowl of fresh strawberries in June, bright red flecked with their little seeds like freckles, sparkling in a glass bowl? And that smell!  Like taking in all the wonder of a pretty girl.  The only thing better than that wonder is imagining the pleasure that will be yours when you can take advantage, which happens with the berries when you coax a bit of juice out of them, pour them over a hot shortcake, and squirt ‘em with some whipped cream.  Mmmmm.  Yep, strawberry shortcake!  One of life’s supreme pleasures. 

Getting there got to be a problem for my own pretty girl a couple years ago.  Since she started going a little keto (not whole hog, as it were), she totally lost her sweet tooth.  And this was a girl with a world class sweet tooth.  Nobody I’d rather take out for ice cream.  But no more, alas.  And how do you get the juice out of those berries?  Why, sugar, of course.  Might there be another way?  As we brainstormed this problem, we knew it was a simple chemistry problem.  An osmotic thing.  The juices moved out of the berry to sidle up to the sucrose molecules to make their concentration approximate that inside the berry itself.  There must be another compound with which we could accomplish that.  My girl with her 4 science degrees, 4 years as NASA’s chief scientist, and 22 years promoting knowledge at U of M went at it and quickly came up with something.  In the classroom she’s Dr.C, in homage to Mr. C – the late Joe Carpenito – family friend who died young of lung cancer after many years as a superstar junior high science teacher in Orlando.  The replacing agent was … balsamic vinegar!  And the results were terrific!  The slight tart of the vinegar complemented the natural sweet of the berries, and the juice was plentiful.  Here’s the recipe we used:

And the new astringent bath did not affect their looks.

You don’t need to serve them from a Mr. Coffee pot.  That’s the only glass vesseI could find in this South Haven beach house we’re renting.  But not a bad look, if I do say so.  Easy pouring over the shortcake.

They did perform superbly between their shortcake bed and whipped cream covers.  Bisquick no longer prints the shortcake recipe on their boxes, so here’s the recipe we used:

Easy peasy, and oh so good.  Hurry up, those berries won’t be with us much longer!

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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