It's not summer without the plump red juicy strawberry. Did you know it's the only fruit with its seeds on the outside? The first garden strawberry was grown in Brittany, France in the 1750s. Today here in the UK over 168,000 tonnes are consumed (2015). I don't know about you but I love them. Here are just a few great ways to enjoy them.
The Essential Summer Fruit: Strawberry
The Strawberry Season
It's always better to eat in season and support local producers. Strawberries are harvested between June until August in the UK, but with technology, the growing season has extended from April until October. Throughout the year strawberries are also imported from Spain, Israel, Morroco and Egypt.
Grow your own
It's so easy now to grow your own strawberries. Have you tried?
There are over 103 species of strawberry, though there are a few to keep in mind if growing in the UK. These are Alice and Elsanta. The most popular is the Elsanta with its superb flavour and large yields of glossy, red fruit. The best time to plant is in April with ample time for the plants to become established before the warmer fruit-producing months. They love sandy well-drained soil, light, water and feed.
A great way to enjoy the essential summer fruit is to go fruit picking. There are loads of PYO (pick your own) fruit farms across the UK. The Balloon Tree, just outside York has come highly recommended with it's bursting succulent strawberry fields and other freshly grown produce.
Located over in Fife is the Cainie Fruit Farm and Mega Maze. It's a great day out for the whole family.
Did you know you can also sign up as a seasonal fruit picker? It is hard work but you're out in the great outdoors and can enjoy the free exercise. Another way to enjoy fruit is a visit to the local Farmers Markets and shops. They have a huge selection of products from freshly picked fruits, jams, chutneys and much more!
There is nothing like chocolate-covered strawberries. Have you tried them with popping candy? Your in for a real treat - surprise!
Strawberry Ice Cream
One of the easiest ice cream recipes is Andi Peter's Three Ingredients Ice Cream.
The delicious three-ingredient ice cream is made with 300grams strawberries, 397grams condensed milk and 300ml double cream but you could substitute strawberries for another fruit or perhaps nuts.
Mash strawberries in a bowl and set aside. Whip the double cream on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Add the condensed milk into the double cream and gently fold. Pour the mashed strawberries into the mixture and gently fold in until combined. Then pour the whipped mixture into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze for about 5-6 hours or overnight.
I used an empty 2-litre ice cream tub and with the above ingredients, these filled it, almost half full. The creamy treat was so easy to make and went down well with the whole family.
Strawberry Cheese Cake
The four easy steps BBC Goodfood Strawberry Cheesecake is easy and delicious!
Here is how you can make yours: - click here.
I used a pie dish I bought from Ikea, instead of a baking tin. This also took out the need to use parchment paper. I also substituted a vanilla pod with vanilla essence. Hand mixing the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence. I also added strawberries into the mix. It took a little bit longer to set. If you do this, be careful with the number of strawberries, as it could make it really wet.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did (yum).
Are you looking for a wee treat to start the weekend? A strawberry daiquiri is refreshing, fruity and alcoholic or you can make it without the rum if you prefer.
Check out the BBC Goodfood Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri recipe here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to enjoy the best of the quite essential British strawberry. Yum!
What is your favourite strawberry treat?