When it comes to baking, few flavors can rival the refreshing combination of tangy lemon and juicy strawberries. Lemon strawberry bars are a delicious treat that strikes the perfect balance between zesty citrus and sweet, luscious berries. In this blog post, I will share the best time to find strawberries for baking and some essential tips on how to make the most of fresh strawberries in your baking endeavors.
The Best Time to Find Strawberries for Baking
Strawberries are a seasonal fruit, and their availability and flavor can vary significantly depending on the time of year. For those who are passionate about baking with fresh strawberries, it’s essential to know the best time to find them at their peak. In most regions, strawberries are at their prime during the late spring and early summer months.
Late Spring: As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, late spring heralds the arrival of strawberries in many regions. Keep an eye out for local farmers’ markets or pick-your-own farms, where you can source the freshest strawberries straight from the field. Baking with strawberries during this time ensures that you’ll enjoy their fullest flavor and vibrant color.
Early Summer: In early summer, strawberries continue to be abundant, and their flavor is even more pronounced. This is the perfect time to indulge in your favorite Lemon Strawberry Bars, as the strawberries’ natural sweetness complements the zesty lemon taste, creating a memorable dessert experience.
Baking with Fresh Strawberries
Fresh strawberries are a baker’s dream, adding both taste and aesthetic appeal to a wide range of recipes. Here are some essential tips to help you make the most of fresh strawberries in your baking. I will also share some tips to make sure your strawberry lemon bars turn out perfectly:
Selecting the Best Strawberries: When shopping for strawberries, look for ones that are bright red, plump, and free of bruises or mold. Smell them to ensure they have a sweet, fruity aroma, which indicates ripeness and flavor. If possible, opt for locally grown strawberries, as they are often picked at their peak and have a superior taste.
Preparation: Before incorporating fresh strawberries into your Lemon Strawberry Bars, wash them gently under cold running water. Pat them dry with paper towels and remove the stems and leaves. For the bars, consider slicing the strawberries thinly and evenly to ensure even distribution throughout the dessert.
Avoid Excess Moisture: Strawberries contain a high water content, which can impact the texture of your baked goods if not managed properly. To prevent excess moisture from affecting the consistency of your Lemon Strawberry Bars, toss the sliced strawberries in a bit of cornstarch or flour before folding them into the batter. This will help absorb excess liquid and maintain the bars’ structure.
Balancing Flavors: The combination of lemon and strawberries is a match made in culinary heaven, but it’s essential to strike the right balance between the two flavors. The lemon should provide a zesty, refreshing note without overpowering the sweetness of the strawberries. Experiment with the amount of lemon zest and juice in your recipe until you achieve the desired balance.
Enhancing Presentation: Fresh strawberries can serve as an eye-catching garnish for your Lemon Strawberry Bars. After baking, place a few sliced strawberries on top of the bars, along with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of lemon glaze. This not only adds visual appeal but also enhances the overall flavor.
Lemon strawberry bars are a delightful treat that captures the essence of summertime. With their bright, tangy flavor and the burst of sweetness from fresh strawberries, these bars are sure to become a favorite among your family and friends. Remember, the best time to find strawberries for baking is during late spring and early summer when they are at their peak. By following the tips mentioned above, you can make the most of fresh strawberries in your baking endeavors and create a delectable dessert that will leave everyone asking for more. If you’d like to try these strawberry lemon blondies, you can follow the recipe below. For more bar recipes, click here.
Strawberry Lemon Bars Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup fresh strawberries diced
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberries chopped
2-3 Tbsp Milk (I used almond)
Using a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Then, beat in the lemon juice and zest.
Using a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Gently mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, 1/2 at a time until combined. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the diced strawberries. Scoop the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick into the center comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool completely before adding the glaze.
To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk. Smooth onto the blondies and sprinkle the strawberries on top. Allow the glaze to harden before cutting.