I love the lead up to Christmas when the garden comes to life, fruit that has been waiting weeks to mature start to show the first signs of ripeness & the plants become a magical sea of colour. I am impatiently waiting for the blueberries to become their juicy best, until then I have been content with picking strawberries (which are currently $5 for two tubs at Woolworths, if you don’t grow your own). I picked some up from the supermarket and also have pots in the shade full of them. I thoroughly neglect them but they still have bright red berries bulging. To me there is no better way to enjoy strawberries than fresh from the patch, but as they don’t last long ripened before the bugs get to them I start to get creative in how to use them up, including the three ways below:
DRIED STRAWBERRIES: This weekend was my first attempt at drying strawberries, and it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. They took me a couple of tries to get right as my oven is very temperamental, but I persevered & we finally had some edible ones at about 1am (not pictured). I followed the directions in this recipe, but my advice would be to cook or ‘dry’ them on the lowest setting your oven goes to. The first batch to come out is pictured below – just ever so slightly overcooked don’t you think? They actually made the house smell wonderful, however a closer inspection found them to be completely charcoal!
ON SALADS & CEREAL I love the freshness a piece of fruit brings to salads, they brighten the plate up & add an element of restaurant quality to homemade. Lately we have been putting either mango, orange or strawberry as a garnish on top of our nightly salad. I especially love them with a dash or three of good quality balsamic vinegar – like the one I picked up in Rome.
Now that the weather has started to get warmer I have been having cereal for breakfast, making up my own mix including a basic cereal base like corn flakes with added seeds such as chia or a sprinkle of linseed, almond & sunflower (LSA), I don’t add any sugar instead topping with a piece of fruit such as a banana or strawberries for the extra sweetness.
STRAWBERRY MUFFINS Last season we had so many strawberries that I gifted some to a friend who turned up with muffins as a thank you! I remembered how nice they were & currently have a batch of them in the oven (recipe here) – Lets hope they turn out better than my first batch of oven dried strawberries! I can’t wait to pull the muffins out from the oven and enjoy them hot – covered in butter & with a cup of tea this afternoon. I hope you have a lovely day too!