Transform those tasteless strawberries into something sweet and decadent that you can top over ice cream, yogurt, or just about anything that your heart desires.
Spring has finally arrived in most parts of the world, but here in Northern Germany, the winter mornings are still lingering, followed by beautiful warm, sunny (and sometimes rainy) days, only to be greeted again with chilly nights. I don’t live far from the Old Land, renowned for it’s apple and cherry orchids, it’s beloved white asparagus, and their delightful, bright red strawberries. However, strawberry season doesn’t start till May, so the strawberries we find at the store are shipped from warmer countries around the world.
Strawberries are one of the few things that I buy out of season, but my boys love them and they are a good source of fibre. The package of strawberries that I recently bought were shipped from Spain. They had a lovely colour but weren’t as sweet as we like them, so I decided to macerate them.
This is a simple technique that I learned from my mother-in-law when I first moved to Germany ten years ago. Macerating is the process of adding a bit of sugar to fruit and allowing it to sit for a while at room temperature. The sugar draws out the natural juices in the berries, creating a wonderful syrup, and adding sweetness back into the fruit. Berries are typically soft, but maceration makes them softer, turning them into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Some recipes call for an extra liquid, like Grand Manier or lemon juice, but I prefer the natural taste of the berry. I sometimes add vanilla sugar or vanilla extract to take it to another level. I love serving macerated strawberries (or raspberries) over Greek yogurt, a beautiful slice of yellow cake, or mixed in with sweetened quark (German fresh cheese). They don’t disappoint either when I serve them on their own with a bit of sweetened whipped cream. 🙂
Let’s begin by rinsing and hulling the strawberries. I like to remove the white tops of the strawberries for aesthetics reasons (you can leave it alone, if you wish), but if the strawberry is red through and through, then I thinly slice away the stem only.
I like smaller pieces but you can either slice or quarter the strawberries, and for larger/longer pieces, cut them again in half or in thirds.
Place the cut up strawberries into a bowl that they’ll fit in (they look so yummy in the photo above) …
… sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over one pound (450-500 g) of strawberries and gently mix well together. You can add the vanilla sugar or extract at this point, if you wish. Now, let them macerate for 30 minutes.
The magic begins the moment you toss the the ingredients together. I took the photo above just minutes after mixing everything together, and you can already see the juices glistening on surface of the fruit. Yum!
After 30 minutes, the sweetness is seeped into the strawberries, the syrup is drawn out, and the sharp cut up edges have softened. They are ready to be served. 🙂
This is such a simple recipe to prepare but the results are impressive and comforting. It brightens up any dreary day and puts a smile on your loved ones faces (at least that is what I see with my boys, when they gobble up their strawberries). 🙂
These sweetened strawberries should be served on the same day but in our house they disappear within the first hour of making them. Print this recipe off or save it on Pinterest. It’s a recipe that can be used all year round!
SIMPLE SUGAR MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
Transform those tasteless winter strawberries into something sweet and decadent that you can top over ice cream, yogurt, or just about anything that your heart desires.
- 1 lb (450 – 500 g) strawberries
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 sachet vanilla sugar , or 1 tbsp homemade vanilla sugar (OPTIONAL)
1. Wash, hull, and cut the strawberries into slices, quarters, or cubes. Place in a small or medium sized bowl.
2. Sprinkle granulated sugar and/or add vanilla extract or sugar (if using), and toss well together. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
3. Serve over ice cream, yogurt, cake, etc; or divide them evenly among bowls and top with whipped cream … or enjoy them as they are.
MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS