BRITISH STRAWBERRIES

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Availability: May to October

Rewind the decades and British strawberries were available for just a few months around June. Now the season starts in earnest around April or May and lasts well into October. Modern growing techniques include the ‘table top’: the strawberry plants are cultivated in raised troughs at chest level, which makes it easier to pick the fruit. This method also helps to keep the crop healthy and reduce watering. These table tops are typically within polytunnels that extend the season and protect the berries from poor weather.

Four IDEAS FOR STRAWBERRIES

  1. For a taste sensation, drizzle your fresh strawberries with a few drops of balsamic vinegar. To take this a step further, sprinkle with a little caster sugar, grate over lime, orange and / or lemon zest and allow to marinate for 30 minutes before serving.

  2. To make chocolate-dipped strawberries, melt some decent chocolate using either the microwave or by breaking the chocolate into chunks then melting in a heatproof bowl slotted over a pan of simmering water. Dip the strawberries into the melted chocolate and then allow to cool on greaseproof paper. You can also pimp up your strawberries by adding sprinkles or crushed nuts.

  3. If you’re making a fruit salad, try marinating the strawberries first. It’s dead easy: make a sugar syrup by dissolving caster sugar in water - use equal weights of each then simmer until dissolved. Add any spices you fancy, such as cloves, cinnamon or ginger. Let this bubble away until it has reduced to a light syrup. Allow to cool then pour over the fruit.

  4. Blend the fruit into lassis or smoothies.