All things strawberries...from leftover recipes to top tips
I love strawberries! Even though we know can buy strawberries throughout the year, nothing compares to sweet, home-grown ones which ripen in June and July. Having been on holiday for two weeks they are top of my thoughts!
Interestingly they are also one of the top leftover foods people say they frequently throw away as they ‘go off’ before they can use them. Therefore here are my top 10 tips and recipes for making the most of your strawberries this year:
There's very little you can't do with strawberries - from succulent salads, indulgent cakes, ice creams, ice cubes and gateaux...The list is endless.
- For a simple fruit salad, sprinkle over sugar, add a few ripped mint leaves and a dash of orange juice. Leave on one side for an hour or two - until the fruit has made its own delicious syrup. Serve with ice cream, frozen yoghurt or a dollop of whipped cream.
- Tip Top Flavour? Keep an eye out in the shops for strawberries with a sweet aromatic scent - they'll often have the most flavour.
- Wash and hull soft summer berries just before you're going to eat them - if rinsed beforehand, they'll only go soggy and lose their shape. If they're reasonably clean, a quick wipe with kitchen paper should do the trick. Over-chilling tends to rein-in their natural flavour - you'll find that they have a fuller flavour when served at room temperature.
- Strawberry cubes - wash strawberries and place individually in ice cube tray. Freeze. Use instead of ice cubes in water, lemonade, etc and munch them when the glass is empty!
- Stripy Multi-Fruit Smoothies are great for using up all sorts of fruit and especially good for encouraging children to eat more fruit. You can just blend all the fruit together but making it stripy gives different layers of flavour.
- Strawberry crumble – a top tip submitted to the website from Vanessa – “To use up excess strawberries, raspberries or blackberries, freeze on a flat baking tray, when frozen put them in a bag and store until needed. Put frozen berries, or a combination of berries in an ovenproof bowl, cover with a thick layer of crumble topping and bake as usual. A touch of summer in deepest darkest winter, yum yum”
- Quick strawberry jam for that essential summer cream tea - great for using up soft fruit past it’s best, but not when it’s gone so far that it has reached the mouldy stage – at this point the compost is the best place for them! This fruit jam is more like compote than a normal jam and needs to be eaten within a few days. It's quick to make too.
- Keeping strawberries fresher for longer? Another tip from the web “My wonderfully thrifty Nan taught me this trick of keeping strawberries which also works well on mushrooms and other soft fruits. Once you have opened the tub empty them from the container they came in and place a piece of kitchen roll on the bottom. Then replace place the least ripe of the fruit on the paper, making sure they don't touch one another. When you have filled the space, place another piece of kitchen roll on top and repeat, making sure the most ripe is on top, until you have a layered affect. My strawberries keep really well for much longer now that I do this.” For more top tips click here
- Strawberry lollies on a budget? Mix yoghurt with any over ripe strawberries. Pour into lolly moulds and freeze.
- Just eat them from the plant or pot! They come but once a year…go on, make the most of them!
DID YOU KNOW?
There are about 500 cultivated strawberry varieties - quite a choice...
On a final note for those who try to grow their own – my sympathies are with you. We are currently battling with the slugs and rain at the allotment to see who gets most this year. My colleague’s tug of war is with her local mice population!
But whether you grow your own, get them from the local farmer or simply the supermarket, strawberries and raspberries are in season, delicious and in abundance – enjoy!