What we’ve been waiting for: local strawberries. These are from a downtown FreshFarm Market. (FreshFarm Market)

A reader in a recent Free Range chat sought the Food team’s blessing for the use of non-local berries in a summer trifle. You can guess with confidence what our response was.

The intention was not to fit the stereotype of locavore food snobs, but merely to direct those who cook toward the best possible outcomes.

In some recipes, using underwhelming strawberries doesn’t matter as much: when they’re combined with other fruits and vegetables, like in salsas, or when they’re blended, like in smoothies. When you’re talking trifles or fools or preserves or the pertinent selection of Recipe Finder options below, you want strawberries that haven’t traveled far. Those preparations need the flavor and texture and brightness that fresh berries can deliver.

To keep them in optimum condition, follow common kitchen wisdom: Don’t wash the fruit or stem/hull till just before you need it. Refrigerate the berries in a single layer, not piled atop each other. Keep them as dry as possible.

We’ve had berry good success storing the fruit atop Fresh Paper, the reusable sheets treated with botanicals and spices that prolong the life of quickly perishable produce. They’re available at Whole Foods and Wegmans stores.

Most-viewed recipes of the week

The metrics gods have returned to us the ability to share which Post online recipes you were most interested in. They are:

1. Double-Strawberry Buttermilk Panna Cotta. No surprise there, from Everyday Dorie columnist Dorie Greenspan. (And it needs those good, local berries.)

2. Espresso Barbecue Sauce, from pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s new cookbook, reviewed in Jim Shahin’s Smoke Signals column.

3. Breakfast Strata Primavera, from Nourish columnist Ellie Krieger.

4. Farro and Black Quinoa ‘Risotto’ With Pea-Shoot Pesto, from Nopa Kitchen + Bar chef Matt Kuhn, featured in the Post Magazine’s Plate Lab column.

5. Double Chocolate Pudding, also from Ellie Krieger.


(Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Trifle


(James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

Grilled Chicken Salad With Sugar Snap Peas and Strawberries


(Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)

Strawberry and Sweet Sour Cream Wraps


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Strawberry Bread


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Strawberry Pazzo Cake With Herbed Creme Fraiche


(James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

Baby Spinach Salad With Strawberries, Oranges and Toasted Pecans

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