It was nice and cool inside the little mom and pop supply store with its half foot thick stone and concrete walls to keep out the summer sun. Only one other customer was inside being helped when o marido and I walked in. A surprise for mid-morning animal food buying on a warm day.
Being instantly recognized, a conversation was struck between a senhora and o marido about the ovelha e cabra (sheep and goat) and bits of advice for farming was exchanged. A quick trip to the little shop always takes at least 15 minutes because of this sort of thing. It's pleasant as long as you're not in a rush or waiting in a hot car.
Lucky for me, I was inside this time, trying to understand the conversation when another senhora walked in with a plastic grocery bag in hand. She quietly waited for the lady behind the counter to say "bom dia!" before she spoke to her quickly, saying something about the bag being for her and handing it over and left to go do her other daily activities.
Inside the bag was some of the most fragrant bright red strawberries. Not so ripe that they were soft, but just perfectly so. I was a little jealous at the time because we hadn't planted any this year, but kept my thoughts to myself.
We finished our business and went to grab the bag of feed to lug to the car. Just before we left I was handed a heavy sack, and told something in Portuguese that I didn't really understand. A nearly automatic "Obrigada!"(thank you) escaped my lips, as I went to put the sack in the car.
Then I was informed of what it was inside; some of those beautiful strawberries!
The Portuguese are like that. They are so friendly and love to do things like give out some fresh and sweet summer strawberries, just because.
I racked my brain as what to do with them. A strawberry shortcake? No, it was too hot, and I'd have to make the cakes myself. Turn them into an ice cream? No cream in the house, so that was out. Then it hit me.
I decided to just keep it simple. Just add a little sugar to pull out the juices, and a little mint to make it refreshing on a hot day. Simple, easy, and naturally delicious.
Strawberries & Mint
Serves: Depends on how many strawberries you have and if you want to share!
- Fresh strawberries
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1-2 sprigs mint
Rinse the strawberries under cool water. Trim the tops off and discard. Quarter the strawberries and put them in a bowl.
Sprinkle sugar on top and toss to evenly distribute.
Wash the mint thoroughly and pluck the leaves off the stem. Roughly chop the mint and transfer it to the bowl with the strawberries. Toss to distribute evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes or until ready to eat.