I love strawberries. I don’t like strawberry flavored things…I want ripe berries in the spring…and I want them all year. I also want to win the lottery. So, since I haven’t won the lottery and I need to manage my strawberry obsession, I have learned that there is more than one way to preserve a strawberry. It is so easy, and this works on those marginal strawberries that you will be subjected to in September, when you can’t WAIT for the local produce to start showing up again in April and May….of next year.
Here are the proportions, but you can double, triple, quadruple, etc.: same proportions:
1 quart of strawberries (hulled and sliced, quartered, whole, whatever)
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
The technical term for this is “macerating” the berries. In the South we refer to this process as “sugarin’ down” the berries. Place your prepared berries in a big bowl, sprinkle the sugar and balsamic vinegar over them, give it all a good stir and let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours. If you cover it, do so loosely with a clean kitchen towel or some paper towel. Come through every 1/2 hour or so and stir them. You will get a lovely syrup and the balsamic vinegar adds a dimension to these berries that you will not believe.
Once the berries have done their thing, bag them up in freezer bags and tuck them away in your freezer until you are hungry for berries. A quick thaw in the fridge (I wouldn’t nuke them) and you are ready to go. My favorite strawberry shortcake is a slice of angel food cake, frosted with a thin layer of a vanilla whipped frosting, a scoop of “good” vanilla ice cream and a healthy drizzle of my strawberries…yum. The berries are not overly sweet, so it balances the ice cream and cake nicely.