Strawberry Waste Hacks
Strawberries are really cheap right now. Due to COVID, strawberry farmers in Queensland are being forced to abandon their crops, as demand has drastically decreased without restaurants, bakeries and cafes (around 50%!), and sale prices dropping well below the cost of production. So, if you see your local grocer or supermarket with strawberries on sale, snap them up and support Aussie farmers.
We have some great recipes to preserve a bounty of strawberries - Rhubarb, Strawberry and Apple Jam, or Strawberry and Basil Shrub, and plenty of ideas in our cookbooks. But if a couple of punnets of strawberries start to go a bit soft before you get to them, our strawberry waste hacks are here to save the day!
If you don't get around to eating all your strawberries before they soften, try making strawberry vinegar. Roughly mash a punnet of 'not so perfect' berries and put them in a jar with a cup of apple cider or white wine vinegar. Let sit for up to a week in a warm spot, opening the jar every day, then strain liquid into a small saucepan, adding 1/3 cup sugar. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until a little syrupy. Pour into a clean jar and store in the fridge for many moons.
Use a salad dressing like balsamic vinegar, or drizzle over grilled meats, oozey cheeses and not-so-sweet desserts.
STRAWBERRY OVEN JAM:
Transform your compost destined berries from rags to riches by roasting them low and slow. Heat your oven to 160 degrees, cut berries into similar sized pieces and pop them in a small ovenproof dish. Sprinkle generously with sugar of your choice The more sugar you add the longer it will last, but at least 1/4 cup sugar to a punnet of strawberries. Add a squeeze of lemon if you have one. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until berries are starting to collapse. Remove from the oven, mash with a fork and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes until berries are glossy and jammy looking. Allow to cool and store in a jar in the fridge.
Serve with pancakes, scones, on ice cream or French toast. Or add a splash of nice vinegar and some salt and pepper and serve with roast meats or oozey cheeses.