Ever since I was a kid, and long before I had the slightest idea what the term “macerated” meant, I remember my parents would take pints of strawberries that they found on sale at the store, slice them up, sprinkle a few spoonfuls of sugar over the glistening slices, and store the bowl in fridge (usually on the highest shelf where I could not reach to sneak a few premature bites). It was always well worth the wait.
Macerating, a technique by which one either soaks fruit in a flavored liquid or simply sprinkles it with sugar in order to bring out additional flavor and sweetness, is a great way to perk up fruit. In keeping with the natural flavor of the strawberries, which were coincidentally on sale at Ralphs for $0.99 a pint and looked absolutely stunning, I chose to go the sugar route. The combination of the sugar and the hour-long sitting time draws out the natural juices of the strawberries to create a beautiful bright red syrup coating the succulent fruit. There’s not much of a “recipe” in this case, but I wanted to showcase the technique.
1 pint (16 oz net weight) fresh strawberries
2-3 heaping teaspoons white sugar (sucrose)
Pinch of salt
Wash and cut the strawberries. Don’t worry about uneven shapes — they make life interesting!
Sprinkle with sugar, enough to look like a light dusting over the top. Add a pinch of salt (to balance and enhance the sweetness). Toss to evenly coat the pieces and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour, even better if you can plan ahead and let it sit overnight.
You can, of course, eat the macerated strawberries straight out of the fridge for a snack or dessert. But also try using it as a topping for pancakes, ice cream, or anything that could benefit from a bright burst of berry flavor!
We also found that when you toss them, syrupy juice and all, into a blender with some ice and any other fruit of choice, you end up with a smoothie that rivals the sweet and tangy ones at Jamba Juice (but without the artificial additives and high-calorie sorbets). Perfect for a cold treat on a warm summery day!