Friday, May 25, 2012

Soused Strawberries

We had strawberry packed summers when I was a kid. Two or three of my neighbourhood friends had plants in their backyards (ironically, where we discovered my best friend's strawberry allergy!) and it was almost a ritual that if we were over at someone's house, the fruit and veggies in the garden were fair game. Since our house had raspberries, tomatoes, chives and mint (and for one fateful year, habaneros!), our next door family had zucchini and bell peppers, and a few houses away had carrots and cucumbers, there was a non-mediated trade of sorts going on our block. I can't count the number of veggie-and-dip trays we all consumed those years, usually before we were allowed to have the usual "summer" treats like popsicles from the Dickee Dee guy.

To add to the strawberry glut every year, we also had a strawberry pick-your-own place close by that a few families would clump together and go to with their kids. I remember fondly lugging white plastic buckets (which over the years turned an odd salmon pink inside) up and down the rows of low, slightly prickly bushes, eating easily as many as I put into the pail, and coming out of the field completely covered in dirt and juice with my mom trailing behind. I'm sure she was thinking the same thing she does every time we go apple picking: "What the heck am I going to do with these now?". You and I both know that the whims of children are flighty, especially when it comes to "food jags", but between giving my jam-making grandma a ton of them and eating a lot of strawberry shortcake (my mom still makes the best in my opinion) we somehow survived the summer.

While I'm pretty sure most of the neighbourhood parents never took this approach to a strawberry topping, I'm sure they would have approved of the tipsy berries with most of the neighbourhood clan running from house to house over the summer holidays.

I'd only ever take the week to make Soused Strawberries with fresh, in season fruit, and in an ideal world, locally grown as well. Our season hasn't quite started (my farming friends are saying 2-3 weeks yet), but I like to make a point of hitting our local farmers markets to buy the good stuff when I can. I've resorted to buying fruit in recent years, since none of my childhood friends live around me any more and my family has no interest in a 40 minute trip to the nearest field (our old haunt has long since closed). In a pinch, berries that have been imported to our supermarket fit the bill just fine (as is evidenced by the photo), provided it's still strawberry season (I know, I know - I'm human, come on!).

Like I said, they do take at least a week to reach "maturity" - sorry those celebrating Memorial Day on Monday - but like most booze, they get better with age (and you can use any of your favourite tipples for the booze, especially for those who are GF - Ipersonally would have used all Godiva but ran out). There are a few Summer holidays coming up, though (Flag Day, Father's Day, beginning of Summer, St. Jean-Baptiste Day, Canada Day, Independence Day...) so you can make these ahead of time to go with whatever goodies are on the dessert table. Angel food or pound cake, shortcake, waffles, or even as part of a grown-up sundae bar - anything is fair game. Mind you, out of the jar straight in the middle of the night is good too... just sayin'!

Soused Strawberries
NI includes the decadent syrup that forms around the fruit!
Makes about 13 fl. oz
330 grams (11.6 oz) fresh strawberries, chopped roughly
2 tbsp Godiva Original liqueur
2 tbsp Nalewka Babuni Cherry Wine (or other cherry liqueur)
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  1. Place strawberries in a bowl and lightly crush with a potato masher or fork. Add fruit and it's juices to a jar.
  2. Add Godiva liqueur, Nalewka Babuni Cherry Wine and Grand Marnier.
  3. Screw on the lid tightly and shake well.
  4. Let sit in fridge at least 1 week, shaking the jar every other day.
  5. If storing longer (it gets better as it sits!), shake jar 1-2 times a week.
Amount Per (fl. oz) Serving
Calories: 24.4
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.3 mg
Total Carbs: 2.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.2 g