Summer wouldn’t be summer without strawberries. This year I planted lots more strawberry plants so that I could have more than just a handful each day to put on my muesli or in my breakfast smoothie. This meant that I could pick them by the punnet-full or more and use them for desserts and in drinks as well.
You can of course just rinse and hull the strawberries and eat them fresh on their own, sprinkled with a bit of icing sugar or with yoghurt or icecream.
Macerating enhances the natural flavour of strawberries. Simply sprinkling them 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tbsp water, and leaving them for 30 minutes at room temperature draws out a sweet jammy syrup. Strawberries and citrus are a match made in heaven, so you can replace the brown sugar and water with zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon or orange, 1-2 tbsp icing sugar and a pinch of ground cardamom for a delicious treat. For a special dessert, or if you are so inclined, you can replace the juice with a citrus liqueur such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or even home-made limoncello.
If you want to take your dessert a step further you can take some fresh marscapone, stir in some vanilla paste, and spoon into the bottom of a dish. Top with your boozy berries and decorate.
Using strawberries in drinks always adds a festive touch: the classic champagne cocktail with a strawberry in the glass; spiced strawberry syrup in a gin or with soda water – try it with lemonade or even as a shandy. I made Pear and Strawberry Cider – which of course you can serve with a strawberry in the glass or for a refreshing summer drink make a punch with peach & strawberry tea, soda water and fresh strawberries.