Strawberries don’t require cooking and are fantastic served simply with sprinkling of sugar or a splash of cream or even just by themselves. The British classic Eton Mess consists of strawberries with whipped cream and broken-up pieces of meringue.
Due to their high pectin content, strawberries lend themselves well to jam, preserve and compote making. They also make fantastic milkshakes, smoothies, ice creams and granitas.
Marinating strawberries is a marvellous way of softening the fruit so they release their naturally sweet juices. It also provides an opportunity to add fragrant or spicy flavourings. Graham Campbell marinates strawberries in a combination of fresh mint and sweet, tangy balsamic vinegar, but why not try other flavours such as star anise, orange juice, rosé or vanilla. Macerating strawberries is another technique for intensifying the flavour and sweetness of the fruit.
Although strawberries are normally served uncooked, pan-roasting gives the fruit a lovely caramelisation. Josh Eggleton favours this approach in his strawberries on eggy bread recipe.
When it comes to flavour pairing, nature often offers a few clues of its own. Mint and elderflower, both in season at a similar time of year, make splendid partners for strawberries. Floral elderflower balances out their sweetness, while mint’s refreshing quality can temper any cloying sweetness.
Strawberries and champagne is a great if slightly decadent option, particularly for a Wimbledon-inspired dinner party. Try Tom Aikens’ deceptively simple dessert of Poached strawberries and champagne.
Strawberries can also work well in savoury dishes. More adventurous cooks will appreciate Alyn Williams’ dish which pickles strawberries in muscatel vinegar before serving with slices of beef, earthy Ryvita and peppery salad leaves.