Celebrate the warmer weather by adding new season fresh strawberries to your menus – ‘cut them up, don’t cut them out’ and support our strawberry growers!
It’s been a bugger of a week for Australian strawberry growers. A few acts of wickedness and malice have wreaked havoc on people who work bloody hard to get a crop to the stores. This evil has also cast a shadow over a delicious fruit that heralds the warmer months for Australians and one that is frequently celebrated in that most Australian of all dishes – the pavlova (shhh, don’t tell the Kiwis I said that).
But there really is no need to remove them from your shopping list. Strawberries are as cheap as chips right now and the best thing consumers can do to support growers is to get out there and buy up big.
If you ‘cut them up, don’t cut them out’, there’s no reason at all to be concerned about eating this sweet, summer favourite. Chop them across the middle, then slice them, or simply get one of those wire egg slicers and slice them with that – then go crazy with them while they’re so cheap.
Strawberries are hugely versatile, a good source of vitamin C and manganese – and just plain delicious.
Make jam, make strawberry sauce, bake with them, dry them, freeze them for smoothies, macerate them in booze (Cointreau, blackcurrant liqueur or the very gorgeous Chambord are all perfect) and serve with whipped cream, grill them, roast them (it intensifies the flavour), add them to salads, make a trifle, make a cheesecake or tart, make ice cream or sorbet.
I bought ten punnets the other day. I froze half for smoothies and made strawberry and rhubarb jam with the other half – the rhubarb gives a lovely, slightly sharp counterpoint to the sweetness of the berries. You’d be surprised to discover just how simple it is to make jam – there are even plenty of recipes online for microwave jam. And it’s delicious on my easy-to-make molasses bread – just saying. 🙂
This is about our food security and it’s up to consumers to take a stand. In this particular case it’s a sweet and delicious stand – so go for it!
Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam
- 300 gms hulled and sliced strawberries
- 300 gms sliced rhubarb
- 300 gms white sugar I use jam-setting sugar
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- Place a saucer in the freezer.
- Combine all ingredients in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat.
- Bring to the boil slowly, stirring constantly, until the sugar is all dissolved.
- Cook stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- After about 15-20 minutes start testing to see if it's set. Place a teaspoon of jam on the cold saucer. Set aside for a few minutes, then gently push it with your finger - if the surface wrinkles, the jam is set. If not, keep cooking for another 5-10 minutes before testing again.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully pour jam into hot, sterilised jars and seal. Cool completely before storing.