There’s nothing worse than harvesting too many strawberries and having no idea what to do with them all! Don’t fret over your excess crop this year – here are some brilliant recipes for you to try out.
Ways Cook, Drink + Eat Strawberries
Strawberries have a delicate, sweet flavour and taste even better when homegrown. They can be grown in fruit cages, flower border, pots adapted for strawberry plants or grown in abundance in the polytunnel.
With plenty of sunshine to ripen the fruit, you could find that come the summer, you have a glut of sweet strawberries. And with these recipes, they won’t go to waste.
Jam is a great way to preserve fruit and there is nothing quite like sitting down for afternoon tea in the winter with strawberry jam made in the summer.
Making a jam is simple but it is a bit of a science.
Using 1kg of ripe strawberries don’t wash them but wipe them. Washing them means they soak up too much water making the jam hard to set. Place them in a pan after hulling them (removing the stalk) and chop into smaller pieces. Add 750g of jam sugar – you will find this is the same aisle as the sugar and icing sugar at the supermarket – and the juice of one lemon.
In a preserving pan, heat the strawberry mixture slowly, stirring frequently. When you can no longer feel any grains of sugar, turn up the heat and boil the sticky, jam mixture.
The jam will be ready when it reaches 105° (use a special jam or preserving thermometer) or when a small blob of jam sets on a cold saucer. When you pull it back, the skin on top of the jam blob should wrinkle.
CAUTION the jam mixture is very hot and sticky, spilling it on your hands or skin will cause painful burns and blisters.
Allow to cool a little, skimming off any ‘scum’ off the top of the mixture with a large spoon. In sterilised, warmed jam jars carefully decant the jam. Place a wax disc on top and seal whilst the mixture is still warm as this forms an airtight seal.
Label with the date and keep in a cool, dark cupboard or larder.
Two Possibilities, One Recipe
This recipe also includes heating strawberries with sugar, a bit like the jam making process but there are two possibilities as to how you use the strawberries.
Place 1 cup of chopped strawberries, half a cup of sugar (no need to use jam sugar in this recipe) and 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring the mixture to the boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes until it is reduced and thickened.
Now strain the mixture so you have a sweet, sticky syrup and the soft, lush mix of strawberry pulp.
- Strawberry pulp – use this on your morning cereal or swirl through Greek yoghurt with a spoonful of caster sugar or sweetener. Use with meringue and fresh strawberries to make an ‘Eton Mess’ dessert.
- Strawberry syrup – in two small glasses of very cold milk, swirl 3 tablespoons of the syrup and enjoy a strawberry milkshake. If you have syrup left over, why not drizzle it over pancakes, served with a generous spoonful of vanilla ice cream?
MEASUREMENTS – ‘cups’ refers to an American measure, but you can buy cups in various sizes in bakeware shops and some supermarkets.
Somewhere in the world, the sun is past the yardarm and that means sitting back in the summer sun and enjoying a strawberry cocktail and we have the perfect recipe…
You will need;
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 lb of fresh strawberries
- 2 cups of gin
- 3 cups of tonic
- A few sprigs of mint to garnish
In a large jug, mix the sugar and lime juice. In eight of the strawberries, make a small slice in their tip so you can garnish a long, slender glass. With the remaining strawberries, slice neatly and add to the lime juice and sugar mixture.
Next stir in the gin and the tonic, mix well but gently. Share out between 8 glasses, garnish with mint and enjoy the taste of summer!
For an ice-cold cocktail, add chopped strawberries to water, freeze and then allow to thaw slightly before ‘mashing’ into slushy ice and strawberry mixture. Or you can add the mixture to a liquidiser to create a sweet slush. Pour over a mix of gin and tonic for a refreshing summer cocktail.
Growing your own strawberries
We have everything you need to grow strawberries as well as helpful hints and tips, including how to protect your crop with a fruit cage, all of which should give you a fantastic crop of this quintessentially English fruit.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK