If you’re lucky enough to have access to homegrown strawberries, you’ve probably spent the last couple of weeks eating them fresh for breakfast or lunch. There’s nothing as British as sweet, ripe, fresh strawberries, and eating them straight from the plant is definitely our favourite way to do it. If you’ve got a glut of fruit, though, and you’re tired to making it into jam, here are a few quick and easy ideas for making the most of this seasonal treat. If you don’t have your own garden strawberries, try making a trip out to a farmers’ market or pick-your-own farm to stock up – you can freeze any surplus and use it for compotes, coulis and preserves.
Quick strawberry tarts
These are perfect for throwing together for unexpected guests for lunch, and there’s no cooking involved. They need to be assembled no more than an hour or so in advance, though, or the pastry goes soggy.
You’ll need one individual ready-made sweet pastry tart case per person. Allow one tablespoon of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of creme fraiche per person, and beat them together. Spoon into the pastry cases. Top with strawberries, cut in half. Put one tablespoon of strawberry or other red fruit jam in a small heatproof dish, and melt it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Brush it onto the strawberries with a pastry brush, and serve.
Strawberry and feta cheese salad
Strawberries aren’t only for sweet dishes, they also work very well in salads. For each person, put a handful of young salad leaves on a plate. Chop baby plum tomatoes in half and scatter them over. Add chopped avocado, crumbled feta cheese, sliced strawberries and croutons, and drizzle over some good quality balsamic vinegar. Serve with crusty bread.
Allow about 280ml milk and 20 – 25 strawberries per person. Put both ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add strawberry syrup to taste, pour over ice and garnish with a mint sprig and a straw.
This is brilliant for using up damaged fruit, or berries that are over or under ripe. Put the fruit in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with a drop of water (just enough to prevent the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan), and heat gently until the berries just start to lose their shape. Add a tiny pinch of cinnamon and sugar to taste. Don’t let the fruit cook for too long as it will go mushy. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and serve with thick Greek yogurt, toasted muffins and clear honey to drizzle.
We love these strawberry themed home accessories:
Strawberry tea towel, Thornback & Peel
This white linen union tea towel hand printed with a luscious red strawberry will remind you of summer all year long. £12.95, available from Annabel James.
Grow your own strawberry, Julie Dodsworth
These pretty ceramic pots featuring floral designs by Julie Dodsworth contain all you need to grow your own plant. These wild strawberries won’t yield much jam, but they’re ideal for decorating cakes and puddings. The kit costs £6.99, available from The Oak Room.
Strawberry and pomegranate gift set, Blancreme
An original gift compromising a bottle of foam bath, pot of body scrub and a pot of body lotion all in cute jam jars and bottle packaging with a delicious strawberry and pomegranate fragrance. £24.50, available from Boutique Provence.
By Sara Walker