How to macerate strawberries with only sugar and some vanilla. Serve with whipped cream or over ice cream, pancakes, waffles and so on.
A very easy and quick recipe for macerating those strawberries that might not be exactly what you hoped for. How many times do we see these beautiful, ruby red strawberries, that just seem to perfect to be true? We buy them, wash them, put them in our mouth full of expectation and just think “Yuck!!!”. They are watery, rather sour, actually don’t really have any taste at all. No flavor, no nothing!
Unfortunately, this is something happening quite often. I’d rather wait until the season in Germany begins and stick to the strawberries that grow in my mother-in-law’s garden, but every year, I do get fooled by some of those early strawberries coming from Spain. Sometimes nothing really grows in my mother-in-law’s garden and sometimes even the more expensive German strawberries don’t hold what they promise.
Actually, finding strawberries that really taste like they are supposed to, can be quite challenging sometimes. And what to do if you did buy some of those perfect looking yet tasteless strawberries? Well, the easiest answer is: macerate them.
What is maceration?
When it comes to food, maceration is breaking and softening of a product using a liquid. In the case of strawberries (or other berries) maceration means sprinkling the strawberries with some sugar to help them release their own juices, improve their taste and their texture if they are underripe.
The most common way to macerate strawberries is to sprinkle them with sugar and leave them sit for at least half an hour. A rather thick juice, almost like a syrup will form during this period of time and the sugar will penetrate the strawberries helping them release their own aroma, making them softer and increasing their flavor.
Other ways of macerating strawberries or other berries or fruit is to soak them in alcohol, for instance some sweet liquors, juice or some good tasting vinegar, something like good quality balsamic vinegar.
Macerated Strawberries with Sugar and Whipped Cream
I found this recipe for Macerated Strawberries with Sugar and Whipped Cream on Rosa’s blog For the Love of Italian Cooking. If you have followed my blog for a while, you might have read this post Rosa’s Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta where I talked about Rosa, a wonderful woman and mother who died at the beginning of March in an act of domestic violence.
I met Rosa through our blogs and despite the fact that we have never actually met in person, we have developed quite a nice friendship through the internet and the telephone. As we both lived in Germany, we had planned to meet in the near future, but unfortunately bad fate got in the way. I really miss Rosa, I still think sometimes, that I should write an email again and then I remember I cannot. I see her tiny picture and her last messages in WhatsApp and my heart breaks.
Rosa’s blog was relatively new and as she was working full time and was a mother of three small boys, she did not have that much time for blogging. However, I have decided to cook all the recipes on her blog and maybe post some of them myself. Rosa was passionate about cooking and baking (she actually worked as a pastry chef) and I think she would be happy to know that other people got to know her recipes.
This recipe for Macerated Strawberries with Sugar and Whipped Cream reminds me not only of Rosa, but of my great-grandmother – Buni – as well. I used to spend a lot of time in her house when I was very small, my grandmother with whom I lived had always worked full-time, so my great-grandmother was the only one available to look after the small children in the family during the afternoons, after school, and during the school vacations.
She was a very kind and warm woman, I don’t ever remember her raising her voice or scolding us, as far as I remember she was probably the only one in our family who was able to say some nice words to children and show some affection without feeling embarrassed or weak because of it…
And I vividly remember eating macerated strawberries in her house. I don’t remember the whipped cream, cream was probably hard to get in the communist times in Romania, but I do remember the sugared strawberries and how delicious they were. She had them often for all her great-grandchildren in spring, sometimes they were really macerated in sugar, juicy and soft, sometimes we would only dip them in granulated sugar. Best strawberries ever!
How to serve the macerated strawberries:
You can have them as they are, just plain and eaten with a spoon to make sure you get all those juices as well.
Otherwise, serve them with whipped cream or – the way my son likes them – with pourable heavy cream that hasn’t been whipped. You can serve them over Greek yogurt, strained yogurt (my favorite version), quark or ice cream.
You can use the macerated strawberries to top pancakes, crepes, waffles or a slice of cake.
So, in Rosa’s memory and in the memory of my great-grandmother as well, here is the recipe for the easiest and best Macerated Strawberries with Sugar and Whipped Cream.
More strawberry recipes:
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs strawberries
- 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
- some vanilla extract or vanilla sugar, optional
- whipped cream, to serve
Wash and hull the strawberries. Halve or quarter them, depending on their size and give them to a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, add some vanilla extract or vanilla sugar to taste, toss well and let stand for at least 30 minutes, until the juice is formed.
Stir again and serve with whipped cream or as suggested above.
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