It might sound sacrilegious this early in the season, but I found myself with a rather large bowl of strawberries in the back of the fridge. I had harvested a mountain of berries before heading out for the evening and with the intention of doing something with them the next day, like slicing them with my egg slicers and marinating them in mint and a sprinkle of sugar to go over ice cream. But the next day came and went, I got busy and completely forgot about them.
On rediscovering them in the back of the fridge, they had just passed that moment of being a delight to eat as you bite into fresh, firm, juicy strawberry goodness, and were now a bit soft and – not wanting to insult a fine fruit, but they were a bit rubbery. But all that strawberry deliciousness was still trapped inside and crying out for some kind of treatment that would not only render them edible but amazing as well.
The logical choice is jam, and there was enough to make maybe a half dozen jars of ruby red gorgeousness that would have gone perfectly with a well baked scone and a big blob of whipped cream. However our cupboard is still a bit chockka with jam from last season and it isn’t the kind of thing I want the kids to ‘hurry up and eat’ so I can make room for more. Veggies in the freezer – yes. Jam in the cupboard – no.
In a deep and meaningful discussion with Hubby the Un-Gardener we decided to look ahead towards Christmas and create a strawberry cordial to lace our Christmas day bubbly with. I can almost taste it now, which is now a tad frustrating as I have to wait over a month to release that essence of redeemed berry as pride of place on the festive table.
It is quite an easy recipe and well worth it. I had 700 grams of berries, and got 1 litre of cordial and some pulpy loveliness that may go well dehydrated, frozen or poured over ice cream – I have yet to decide. So I’ll knock the recipe back to 100 grams of strawberries so it is easier to adjust.
- Take 100g of strawberries and remove the stalks and wash.
- Put in a pot with 100g of water and bring to the boil.
- Mash or blitz – I blitzed because I didn’t want to lose a drop of goodness.
- Leave to cool
- Add 100g sugar and the juice of a lemon and dissolve the sugar.
- Strain through a Jelly bag. If you squeeze it – it will be cloudy. I have to confess I squeezed the bag once I got the first litre off – so I had enough to fill another bottle – albeit a small bottle because I didn’t want to miss a morsel.
- Pour into sterile bottles.
- The high sugar content will help preserve it but if you want to keep it for a longer period then you may want to further process it in your favourite way.
Come again soon – the sun has been shining and the garden has been calling to me to come out and play.
Sarah the Gardener : o)