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Balsamic Strawberries

I would not usually suggest anyone does anything with fruit other than eat it 'as-is'. I am a self confessed massive fruit-bat, and I just don't get why anyone would ever need to do anything with fresh, in season fruit. In our house, nothing hangs around long enough for me to even think about it! However, there are a few exceptions, in most cases related to early or late season produce.

Punnets of strawberries are just starting to appear in Perth - the strawberry season in WA starts earlier than most, thanks to our (relatively) warm sunny winter. However, these early season specimens are not quite at their best; a little pale, and not quite a sweet and flavoursome as those we see later in the season. When we were kids, my mum had a track for these not quite as delicious strawberries - cut into similar sized pieces, and douse with sugar and cognac (regularly gifted to dad for Christmas, but never drunk). My sister and I loved it so much, that we would often ask for these drunken strawberries at the peak of the season, but mum would always steadfastly refuse - it was a trick reserved for those less than peak strawberries, either at the start of end of the season.

Nowdays, I am less inclined to douse them in cognac, mostly because we rarely have it in the house, and also, The Husband does not share my dad's disdain for cognac, so if we were to have any, I doubt I'd be allowed to 'waste' it on strawberries. Balsamic vinegar is my new found preference, making a delicious, if slightly unexpected, substitute.

A friend recently gifted us a bottle of Pukara Estate Vanilla and Cinnamon Balsamic Vinegar, and when I saw punnets of not quite ripe strawberries at the market this week, I knew I had the perfect dessert combination for an upcoming pizza night.

Balsamic Strawberries

Rough quantities;

  • 500g strawberries
  • ½ - 1 tbs sugar
  • ½ - 1 tbs balsamic vinegar (or cognac, for drunken strawberries)

This doesn't really need a recipe in the traditional sense - it's really a taste and see kind of thing. Wash (and dry) your strawberries if they're a bit grittty - I usually don't bother - then hull & chop into halves or quarters (roughly all the same size) and chuck them all in a bowl. Sprinkle over a bit of sugar (oooh! I imagine maple syrup would work well too! totally trying that this week), depending on how tart they are, and how sweet you want them, then drizzle with just enough balsamic vinegar to coat. Toss and leave for 1-2 hours to get all infused and delicious, then serve with ice cream, yoghurt, cream, or just eat them as is!

What's your favourite way to eat strawberries? Do you prefer them straight from the punnet, or something fancier?