Is there anything more reminiscent of British summertime than strawberries and Wimbledon? Perhaps rain and thunderstorms, but they are the reality and not the ideal. To most, it’s strawberries – that diverse and wonderful flavoured fruit. We can’t get enough of them at this time of year, putting them in jam, in and on cakes and even in our alcohol. Here is a small selection of simple recipes involving this wonderful berry.
Strawberry Vodka or Gin
Flavoured alcoholic spirits are about as summery as it gets today. It’s rising in popularity too with traders at summer craft markets selling variations on flavoured vodkas and gins. This is a simple recipe to make. You’ll need a 700ml bottle of vodka or gin (we recommend a favoured brand rather than a cheap substitute), around 400g of strawberries and 100g of caster sugar. Remove the stalks from the strawberries and slice them into roughly half-centimetre slices. Put in a large mixing bowl with the caster sugar, spreading it evenly over the sliced fruit. Then pour over the gin or vodka and give it a stir. Pour into a Kilner jar, refrigerate and leave to stand for anything up to two weeks. You can either leave the strawberry sediment or strain it out.
Sorbet is a quick, simple and healthy alternative to ice cream. With enough strawberries, you can keep everybody happy after Sunday lunch. You’ll need a food processor for this. A hand blender will do but it will take much longer. You’ll need two teaspoons of vanilla extract, 100g of caster sugar and around 900g of strawberries (around two punnets worth), a tablespoon of lemon juice and 120ml of water. Blend the strawberries until they’re a smooth paste. Combine the other ingredients in a saucepan and stir. You should end up with syrup when all the sugar has dissolved. Then, combine both mixtures in a bowl and stir thoroughly. Chill over the course of 4 hours. Place in a metal tin and freeze for some six hours. Then remove and spin through the blender again. The problem with making sorbet and ice cream is that the water and mixture separate. Blending re-mixes them.
If the strawberry is the quintessentially British fruit then strawberry jam is the quintessentially British conserve. You’ll need 900g of strawberries for this or roughly two punnets, 800g of caster sugar and around four tablespoons of lemon juice. Remove the stems from the strawberries and chop. It doesn’t matter how fine because you’ll need to mash them to a pulp in a saucepan. The more you crush, the smoother the finished product will be. If you like your jam lumpy than leave a few lumps. Then stir in the lemon juice and sugar over a low heat until the sugar has clearly dissolved. Then you’ll need to turn the temperature right up until the mixture boils. Keep stirring while it boils. Ideally, you want a temperature of 105C. Remove from heat and begin transferring to sterile jars, leaving around 1cm headspace. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.
Why Not Try…
There are plenty of desserts and drinks where you can substitute strawberries in traditional recipes.
- Rather than using blackberries and apple in a crumble (it’s too early for them anyway) use strawberries and rhubarb
- Do you like to make cheesecake? Whizz up some strawberry in the cheesecake mix before leaving it to set
- Jellies are easy to make – that’s why children like to get involved. Break up some strawberry pieces into the jelly to help them get one of their daily portions of fruit
- Whizz up 140g of strawberries with 500g of plain yoghurt and a 400g tin of condensed milk in a blender. Put it into a sizeable tray and freeze it. This is a much healthier alternative to ice cream