5 Ideas for Using Strawberries in Your Cooking

Fresh, sweet strawberries are at their peak availability between the months of April and June. While these fruits make a great snack on their own, students in culinary arts programs can find many more creative uses for them. Here are a few tips to get you started on making strawberries a regular part of your meals and desserts:

1. Sweeten your salad
Strawberries are an excellent addition to a variety of salads, including the classic combination with spinach. The Kitchn recommended incorporating toasted almonds and goat cheese, topping it all off with poppy seed dressing. These ingredients ensure you have plenty of tangy and sweet flavors for a lively appetizer. If you prefer, you can also substitute in a different choice of greens, like arugula.

2. Get saucy
A little fruity, seasonal flavor can step up your sauce and make a fantastic addition to a quick dinner. For instance, Southern Living suggested using a strawberry salsa in a recipe for grilled chicken cutlets. This take on the sauce also calls for scallions, chives, radishes, lime juice, salt, and pepper. The sweetness and spice complement pieces of chicken that have been marinated in pineapple juice, ground ancho chili peppers, oil, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper.


3. A perfect dessert
Anyone with an interest in the baking and pastry arts must master the classic strawberry shortcake. Martha Stewart’s version requires making a dough by combining sugar, flour, butter, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Then, pat out the dough and cut it into squares. After baking in an oven set to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour, simply add layers of strawberries and whipped cream.

Still, shortcake is just the beginning of the irresistible desserts you can make with this fruit, whether by coating it in chocolate or incorporating it into your baking. Cooking Light advised trying a layer cake packed with strawberry flavor. Slices of the berries go into the the cake batter itself, and, as a finishing touch, you place more of them atop the frosting.

4. Try jam
One way to ensure you can enjoy great strawberry flavor any time is to preserve it in a jam. If you’ve never made jam or jelly before, it’s easy to get started. You just need chopped or mashed berries, lemon juice, pectin and sterilized jars. For a slightly different taste, the Serious Eats recipe also includes a cup of honey.

5. Drink it up
Of course, strawberries are also a fantastic part of beverages, both alcoholic and family-friendly. The Food Network provided directions for the ultimate warm weather drink: strawberry lemonade. It begins with making a strawberry syrup by tossing chopped fruit with sugar. Then, allow the mixture to sit for 45 minutes before straining. Separately, prepare a lemon syrup by boiling zest with sugar. Mix the lemonade by combining the lemon syrup with lemon juice, water and salt. Throw in a tablespoon of strawberry syrup for each glass.

These recipe ideas are just the beginning of the possibilities for this beloved and versatile fruit. As the days heat up, you can enjoy strawberries in countless ways, from a parfait to a daiquiri. Be sure to experiment with a few different approaches this year.

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