Melbourne has fantastic access to an abundance of local, seasonal fruit ripe for the picking throughout spring. The humble strawberry is grown all across Victoria most of the year, with an estimate of over 100 active farms spanning across the state.
Like many berries, strawberries are considered a superfood. In addition to antioxidants, they also contain nutrients such as fibre, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and more. The sweet, juicy flesh is often a favourite for desserts and also works well in a range of savoury dishes.
Rather than sticking to the same old recipes time and time again, we thought we’d share four unique ways to use this wonderfully versatile fruit as it hits its seasonal peak.
Balsamic Strawberry Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese
This fresh, tangy salad is right at home on all spring menus. The sweetness of the strawberries are superbly complemented by the sharpness of the blue cheese and slight bitterness of the walnuts.
3 cups baby spinach
250g strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup walnuts
100g blue cheese
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
50g goat’s cheese (optional)
Dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Method: Combine the baby spinach, walnuts and strawberries in a mixing bowl.
Crumble the blue cheese and mint on top, along with the goat’s cheese if you’re using it.
Whisk together dressing ingredients, or place in a jar with a secure lid and shake to emulsify. Drizzle over your salad ingredients immediately before serving.
Chilli and Strawberry Jam
This flavour combination may surprise you, but the spice of the chilli works exceptionally well with the sugary strawbs. When you have a swag of strawberries to use in a short time, this is a great recipe to ensure none of your precious bounty goes to waste.
Makes 4-6 jars
1 kg strawberries
3 cups caster sugar
4-5 fresh birds eye chillies, finely diced
1 tsp sea salt
1 and ½ tbsp fruit pectin
Puree half of your strawberries in a food processor. Roughly chop remaining half. This gives the jam a heartier texture.
Zest and juice the lemons.
Combine strawberries, lemon juice and zest, chilli and the salt. Following that, stir in the fruit pectin. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring as you go. Reduce heat slightly.
Stir through the sugar, then return to the boil, stirring for one minute. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and skim any foam off the top.
Allow to cool.
White Chocolate Matcha Strawberries
Chocolate-coated strawberries are an easy, popular dessert treat. We’ve changed things up a bit using Japanese green tea matcha for both its eye-catching colour and unique flavour.
250g white chocolate buttons
1 tsp matcha powder
Black sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Place white chocolate buttons in a heatproof dish that will fit nicely over your saucepan. Bring water in a saucepan to a simmer, before placing the heatproof dish on top. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is glossy and melted.
Stir through matcha powder. This should create an even, pale green colour through the mixture.
Arrange a sheet of baking paper on a tray. Dip your strawberries in chocolate, then place on the lined tray making sure strawberries aren’t touching. Sprinkle immediately with black sesame seeds and pop in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is set.
Savoury Strawberry and Basil Pizza
When most people think strawberry on pizza, the first thing that comes to mind is some kind of dessert. Well, have we got news for you. This savoury pizza is light on ingredients but maximum on deliciousness. For a sweeter variation, sub basil for pineapple sage leaves. You can make your own pizza base or use store bought; just make sure it’s thin and crispy.
6 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 thin pizza base
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh whole basil leaves
50g buffalo mozzarella
50g goats cheese
Cracked pepper and salt to season
Preheat your oven to 220C, then place your pizza base in it for 3-5 minutes.
Drizzle the olive oil over the base, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly.
Distribute strawberry slices. Top with lemon juice, crumbled goats cheese and pieces of torn mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper.
Place the pizza in the oven for 10 minutes until the buffalo mozzarella is melted and golden.
Remove pizza from the over, sprinkle over the fresh basil leaves and serve.