These Simple Macerated Strawberries can be enjoyed as is or as a topping for yogurt, pancakes or cake. The perfect no-cook sauce for summer!
Do you love strawberries?
If you are like me, you will try to preserve this wonderful fruit so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year.
One of my favorite recipes is this homemade strawberry jam. It’s great swirled into yogurt, homemade ricotta cheese, or spread over toasted honey wheat bread.
Be sure to consult this guide on How to Freeze Strawberries so that you can continue to enjoy local fruit throughout the year. They make a great addition to smoothies. You can also use them to make banana strawberry muffins.
Have you ever had a chocolate pizza topped with fruit, including these wonderful berries? The next time you are planning a pizza night, make sure to make this dessert pizza!
Today, we will transform this wonderful berry into a spectacular treat with the help of honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
But first, let’s define this concept of maceration.
What does it mean to macerate strawberries?
The word macerate means to “soften by soaking in a liquid.” This is a culinary technique that encourages fruit to release its juices.
You can use 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).
Macerating follows the same principle as marinating, where spices, herbs, and liquids are combined with fish and meats. In both, the result is an infusion of flavors. Today, we are using this technique to sweeten our berries.
Place about 1 pint of fresh fruit (about 2 cups) in a colander and quickly rinse them. Blot them dry with a clean tea towel.
Remove the stems and slice ⅛ thick. Or, if you prefer, quarter them.
Place in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey (1-2 tablespoons), lemon juice (2 tablespoons), lemon zest (1 teaspoon) and minced fresh mint (1 teaspoon, optional).
Gently combine with the sliced strawberries.
Let the berries sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the berries to give off their juices.
That’s all there is to it! You have just made some macerated berries!
Once you realize how tasty they become at the end of this process, you can experiment by 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.
As far as choosing which fruit to macerate, anything goes! Try peaches, nectarines, raspberries, blackberries, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
That’s it! You now know how to sweeten strawberries.
Wasn’t that easy?
- Whisk the marinade separately in a bowl. Do not be tempted to drizzle the individual ingredients for the marinade over the berries. Please take a few seconds to whisk the marinade together properly and then add it to the berries. This will create a mixture that covers the entire surface of the berries.
- Allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes. A little patience is required, but you will be rewarded with great-tasting fruit.
Yes, this is an option. The texture will be very soft, making it a perfect topping or filling for various foods.
Yes. Replace the lemon juice with your choice of alcohol.
How to enjoy
Macerated berries are great on their own. But take a look at other ways they can be enjoyed…
- For breakfast lovers: This is a great breakfast topping: French toast, pancakes, crepes, waffles or even cheese blintzes. They are also great to include in your breakfast bowl.
- For cake lovers: A few spoonfuls are great when paired with this orange chiffon cake, crepe cake, cheesecake and of course, strawberry shortcake. I also love to serve them alongside my mom’s recipe for this Italian cake.
- For dairy lovers: Use as a topping for yogurt, ice cream or this ricotta recipe for strawberry parfait.
These dessert strawberries are very versatile and make whatever you are eating that much more wonderful and enjoyable.
More strawberry desserts we love
As a mother (and a dietitian), I have always tried to encourage my kids to adopt healthy eating habits.
Considering my personal beliefs and 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, especially if this wonderful fruit is within arm’s reach.
One evening, a few decades ago, I prepared a bowl of fresh berries as a “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 nonna’s!
I agreed as they were a little sour.
But we made a game out of it to find the sourest berry and made all kinds of funny faces along the way – 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. Lo and behold, I spotted my mother adding sugar… ah, sugared strawberries!
I understood why my berries could never compete with my mother’s sweetened version. I hate to admit it, but they were delicious…
So, if you are looking for a quick no-cook treat, add a little sweetener. That’s all they need to bring out their natural sweetness.
And now you know how to macerate strawberries… nothing could be easier or tastier!
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★★★★★ If you have made this Macerated Strawberries recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
- 1-2 tablespoons honey slightly warmed, adjust to personal taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon mint fresh, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 cups strawberries sliced ⅛ inch or quartered
- 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 at least 30 minutes.
- Can be enjoyed as is or as a topping on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, crepes, angel food cake, etc…
- Whisk the marinade separately in a bowl. Do not be tempted to drizzle the individual ingredients for the marinade over the berries. Take a few seconds to whisk the marinade properly together and then add it to the berries. This will create an emulsion that covers the entire surface of the strawberries.
- Allow the strawberries to marinate for at least 30 minutes. A little patience is required but you will be rewarded with great-tasting strawberries.
This post was originally published on May 30, 2016 and republished on June 25, 2019 with updated content and photos.
I’ve always made a version of macerates strawberries that is simply strawberries sliced and crushed with a little bit with granulated sugar, but I wanted a more “grownup flavor” to go along with the citrus ring cake, so I tried this recipe. I chopped the strawberries fairly small so that it could be more of a pour-over sauce. I can’t believe how wonderful they turned out. A lot of depth of flavor with out being cloyingly sweet as with just the sugar. This recipe is just as spectacular as the citrus ring cake!
Hi ARJ! What a fantastic idea… I love it!!! I can’t wait to try this with the Italian cake the next time I make it. I am grateful to you for taking the time to comment and sharing this wonderful idea… truly appreciate it ♥ Hope you had a wonderful dinner party 🙂
Ur pal val
Can’t wait to try these macerated strawberries… they look so good! Thanks!!!
Yes, they are great on their own or served with your favorite dessert. Appreciate you taking the time to comment, thanks!
I love how simple and easy this recipe is. There’s really no excuse not to enjoy dessert, is there? The best part is that it’s healthy!
Absolutely! Thanks for dropping by 🙂
Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
Macerated strawberries are so delicious and you can use them in so many different ways. Perfect way to enjoy fresh berries in season.
I absolutely agree! Thanks for dropping by Gloria 🙂
Simple is sometimes better. Thanks for the reminder.
Hia Deb… It doesn’t take much to make this gal happy 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.
Samantha | My Kitchen Love
Agreed that macerated strawberries are a great topping for many many foods. I also like to top them with club soda for a nice refreshing drink.
Great idea! Perfect for those hot summer days. Thanks for dropping by Samantha 🙂
Amanda | The Cinnamon Scrolls
I love adding honey to fruit as a sweetener alternative for sugar. (Personally, I think it tastes better!) These strawberries sound lovely and a perfect accompaniment for lighter desserts and breakfasts! Thanks for participating, Maria. 🙂
Thank you Amanda! Featuring strawberries was a great idea! Thanks for dropping by 🙂
This is such a fresh and delicious way to enjoy strawberries…a little bit of honey makes almost everything taste just a little better!
I absolutely agree Jo-Anna! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
Your strawberries look beautiful and yes macerated is a rather violent word! I love to use fruit this way as well, simply prepared and delicious.
Thanks Laura. Appreciate you taking the time to comment 🙂 🙂
I love macerated strawberries! I’ve been eating them all my life, especially when I’m in Rome and my dad makes them for us. He is really good, with sugar (he’s like your mother 😉 ) and lemon juice he turns a simple fruit into a scrumptious dessert. Thanks for sharing, Maria, and your citrus cake looks fantastic (another one of my favorites).
Thanks Nicoletta! Strawberries just make the world a better place! Thanks for dropping by 🙂 🙂