As many of you know, I am from Quebec, in Canada. We can get amazing strawberries here locally – naturally sweet and tart and perfect – usually by the end of June, but until then, I’ll be transforming my sub-par strawberries into these Simple Macerated Strawberries instead. By the way, if you love strawberries, you’ve come to the right place! A Canadian group of bloggers (all members of the Food Bloggers of Canada) have decided to share their love of strawberries with all of you. So be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to some links to fantastic recipes! (Look for us in all the social media by searching: #CDNFoodCreatives). A big thanks to our host Amanda, who can be found at The Cinnamon Scrolls… she’s the mastermind behind this collaboration.
Let’s start be defining the concept of macerated strawberries. I know the name sounds kind of… violent? But I assure you, the word “macerated” simply refers to a culinary technique that encourages a fruit to release its juices. You can basically use a simple sugar syrup to soften the food to draw out the natural juices. The syrup can also include alcohol as an ingredient (liquor, brandy, or even wine). Basically, macerating follows the same principle as marinating, where spices, herbs and liquids are combined with fish and meats. In both, the end result is an infusion of flavours.
Once you realize how easy and tasty the fruit becomes at the end of this process, you can play around with adding all kinds of different herbs and spices to your syrup. (The version of the syrup that I’m sharing with you today is super simple and stripped down. Feel free to add to it as you see fit.) And as far as choosing which fruit to macerate, anything goes! Try peaches, nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
For breakfast lovers, Simple Macerated Strawberries are great as a topping for French toast, pancakes, crepes , waffles and cheese blintzes. If you are a cake lover, these Simple Macerated Strawberries go great with angel food cake and cheesecake, and as part of a strawberry shortcake. I love making Simple Macerated Strawberries to go with this recipe for Traditional Italian Citrus Ring Cake that I shared with you just last week. I think they taste great together! You can try Simple Macerated Strawberries as a topping for yogurt or ice cream, too, or even sweetened ricotta or mascarpone. As you can see, these macerated strawberries really are very versatile, and make whatever you are eating that much more wonderful and enjoyable.
Origin of the recipe for Simple Macerated Strawberries:
As a mother (and a dietitian), I have always tried to encourage my kids to adapt healthy eating habits. Considering my personal beliefs and my upbringing (where I was taught that fruits make great desserts), it should come as no surprise that I have no problem getting my daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. I could easily have all my recommended daily portions in just one meal, especially if strawberries are within arm’s reach… it takes a lot of willpower to stop eating those little jewels… thank goodness there are only 50 calories per cup of strawberries and that they are a terrific source of Vitamin C!
One evening, a few decades ago, (where does the time go!!!) I had a nice bowl of strawberries that I had washed and prepared as “dessert” for my family. I will never forget the look on my son’s face when he took one bite and exclaimed that my strawberries were not as good as his grandma’s! I agreed, as they were a little sour, unlike the super sweet strawberries from Quebec. But we made a game out of it to find the sourest strawberry and made all kinds of funny faces along the way – I remember having that feeling of mission accomplished – my kids ate their fruit for the day! I did not think of it again, until one Sunday when we were having lunch at my parent’s house and, lo and behold, I spotted my mother adding sugar to the strawberries… it was then that I realized that my strawberries could never compete with my mother’s strawberries. I hate to admit it, but they were very tasty…
So… many decades later, here I am telling you that I’ve come over the dark side. Whenever you have sour strawberries, just add a little, and I mean a little honey. That’s all they need to bring out their natural sweetness. And now you know how easy it is to make Simple Macerated Strawberries.
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon mint, fresh, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 cups sliced (1/4 inch thick) strawberries
- In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and mint (if using).
- Gently combine with the sliced strawberries.
- Leave at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
- Can be eaten as is or as a topping on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, crepes, angel food cake, etc...
For an alcoholic version: substitute the lemon juice with an orange liquor.
You must whisk the liquid ingredients together in a separate bowl... no shortcuts 🙂
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Ciao for now,
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