This story doesn’t begin here, although this is my first ever photograph shot using a tripod (plus a Kodak EasyShare M380 on macro setting). You do not, however, need the tripod for the recipe coming up below, although it could come in handy for balance if you’ve sampled too much of the end product some months hence.
So: the story actually begins at the allotment, and a case of TOO MANY strawberries. Gilly at Lucid Gypsy has also been suffering from the same dilemma. In fact as I was picking all these juicy fruits under a very hot sun, I was wondering if this was indeed a subject for some serious philosophical debate. I mean, can you have too many strawberries?
(N.B. These next two photos did not involve a tripod, only a hot and bothered biped in ‘pick ‘n shoot’ mode.)
So can you have too many strawberries?
It is the sort of question that inevitably leads me to Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book (the companion to her Vegetable Book). She is just the cookery writer you need when you have any excess produce. And it is thanks to her that I will pass on this morning’s activity at the kitchen table in Sheinton Street.
- You will need strawberries, fair trade unbleached caster sugar, a bottle of vodka (or gin if you prefer), and a big jar with a lid that seals.
- Select DRY strawberries that do not need to be washed, and fill your chosen clean, dry vessel. I used a 2 litre kilner jar (4 pints).
- Then sprinkle in fair trade caster sugar so it comes a third the way up the jar (I used about 150 gms, 2/3 cup).
- Fill the jar with vodka so that all the fruit is covered and seal.
Jane Grigson’s instructions then are that you place the jar in a cool, dark place, and turn it over from time to time. After a month the strawberries will look wan and floppy, and you can then strain the lot into a new jar, using a double layer of muslin. Or you can leave the fruit as it is for several months more.
The resulting cordial can then be drunk as a liqueur, and used to pep up sorbets, fools and mousses. My mind is tending (albeit perversely so on this steamy July day) towards thoughts of Christmas trifle.
I should add that I have never tried this before, but so far it is looking good, and that’s where the tripod came in. I shall definitely be using it again. As to the strawberry vodka, only time will tell.
copyright 2015 Tish Farrell