Strawberries are the taste of Summer

As a child I started a love affair with strawberries. Here are some of my favourite recipes using the queen of fruit.

When asked which foods I loved as a child, I don't have to think twice: roast chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. And strawberries. Loads of them.

One summer, when I was probably about eight or nine, I ate so many that I came out in a bumpy, itchy rash all over and was advised to leave them out of my diet for a while. Thankfully, by the following summer, my body was able to cope with them again and, from then on, my love affair with the sweet, squishy, heart-shaped berries continued.

Jam-packed with vitamin C and also containing potassium, folic acid and fibre, it's no wonder these little red powerhouses have been called queen of the fruits by the Asians for centuries.

In ancient Roman times, the wild strawberry – which, like its cultivated cousin, is actually a member of the rose family – was used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes, such as alleviating gout, fever, kidney stones and bad breath.

Sometimes, I feel like strawberries are cheating. So impossibly sweet and juicy, and so beguiling in brilliant scarlet red. When they're at their best, I like to eat them with nothing else. Not even a little cream. I've had them with rose wine, black pepper, or balsamic vinegar. But, to me, the most delicious strawberries should be served alone and allowed to speak entirely for themselves.

That said, the cook in me can't wait to use strawberries in every dessert I can think of. Before I make that dessert, though, I'll make myself a divine strawberry daiquiri. They're really refreshing and deliciously easy to put together, plus you can, of course, make a virgin daiquiri by just leaving out the vodka or rum.

The iced strawberry meringue cake is a lovely cake that's perfect for a summer birthday. Not technically a cake, it's more like a mixture of meringue and ice cream, but still in the shape of a cake. It's very simple to make, but you do need a little planning as you'll need to freeze it overnight.

Strawberry Recipes:

Iced strawberry meringue cake
Strawberry Daiquiri
Strawberry Ice Cream

Rachel's tip

Cream of tartar is slightly acidic, so adding a pinch when you're whisking egg whites will help you get more volume and stability.

Rachel recommends

One of the most affordable ways to buy masses of strawberries is to visit a pick-your-own farm. It also makes for a great day out. Look online for a pick-your-own farm near you!

Photos: Tony Gavin.

Shaneod Jul 16, 2014 News