The signs are out at roadside stands and farmers’ markets: strawberries. Nothing more need be said. For a few glorious weeks we’ll be able to buy or pick berries whose juices flow with every bite. Since the season is short, many strawberry lovers try to preserve the fruits by making jams and jellies, but as much as I love to make jams and preserves, I’ve never been a fan of strawberry ones. I’ve finally realized that it’s because I don’t like cooked strawberries. Strawberry jam? Don’t give a damn. Strawberry pie? Not I. I feel that cooked strawberries are mushy and their delicate flavor somehow changes when cooked, becoming bland. In my opinion, if you want to preserve strawberries, the best way is to freeze them. Then you can pull them out in the dead of winter to toss into smoothies or top yogurt, or even make an out-of-season shortcake.

Shortcake is the highest and best use of fresh strawberries. Just slice the berries into a bowl, sprinkle lightly with sugar to draw out their juices, stirring a few times to help the process along. Make simple homemade biscuits, splitting and buttering them while still warm, then top the rounds with berries and drifts of barely sweetened whipped cream.

Shortcake is perfection, but since we cooks always need to try something new, I offer two recipes, both using uncooked strawberries. The first, Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream, uses sweetened condensed milk to make a dense ice cream that needs no churning. I tried this no-churn recipe a couple of months ago, during the height of pandemic shortages, and found it a tad rich, but not so rich we didn’t gobble it up and lick the pan.

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2 cups heavy cream
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped strawberries, plus more for topping
1 cup chopped poundcake, plus more for topping
In a large bowl, beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in sweetened condensed milk, strawberries, and pound cake.Transfer mixture to a nine-by-five-inch loaf pan and smooth top with a spatula. Top with additional strawberries and pound cake and freeze until firm, at least five hours. When ready to serve, remove from freezer to let soften for about 10 minutes.

Another simple fresh-strawberry dessert is a take on Italian tiramisu.

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2 cups strawberries
4 egg yolks
14 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 Tbsp. for berries
pinch salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
18 lady fingers
14 cup orange juice
whipped cream
Slice strawberries into a bowl, sprinkle with one tablespoon sugar and stir to combine. In a large mixing bowl combine egg yolks and sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add salt, whipping cream and cream cheese. Whip until mixture is thick and fluffy, about three additional minutes. Pour orange juiceinto a wide bowl or rectangular glass baking pan. Dip ladyfingers quickly, one at a time, into orange juice and crumble into the bottom of either a large trifle dish or individual glass serving dishes. Either way, use half the lady fingers on the first layer. Cover ladyfingers with half the cream mixture and top with about half the strawberries, reserving a few tablespoons for topping. Repeat the layers, then top with dollops of whipped cream and a drizzle of reserved strawberries.