5 Surprising Ways to Cook with Strawberries

Fresh Summer StrawberriesThe season has come when strawberries are once again affordable and abundant in the store. But are you tired of the same old strawberries and cream? Or maybe you just want to try something new and interesting with your box o' berries? Here are 5 surprising new ways you can prepare strawberries to impress your family, friends, and even dinner party guests.

1. Roasted Strawberries: Did you know that you can cook strawberries in the oven? They get just as juicy, sweet, and sticky as they do on the stove top, but keep their shape much better. The flavors seem more concentrated too. Just line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper (for easy cleanup!) and toss 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved, with 2 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. sugar. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Perfect as an accent to your cheese plate, topping for ice cream, or swirled into yogurt.

Related: Easy Summer Fruit Recipes

2. Pickled Strawberries: Just because strawberries are super sweet, doesn't mean you can't use them in savory dishes. For example, in our June issue's 5 Ideas for Strawberries column, Sherry created Berry Nice Pork Chops Berry Nice Pork Chopsthat are super fast and easy. You can soak just the berries in a pickling solution to go with any meat, really. Just heat 1 c. water, 2/3 c. white wine vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand), 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. salt until sugar and salt dissolve. Let the mixture cool slightly, then add to 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved, in a large jar or airtight container. Add in peppercorns, fennel seeds, or coriander seeds, if you like, to infuse another interesting flavor into the pickles. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours and voila, an excellent topping for a piece of grilled chicken, steak, or salmon.

Related: Outdoor Entertaining Essentials

3. Muddled Strawberries: As the weather gets warmer, what better way to add some fresh fruit flavor to your favorite cocktail than to muddle in some strawberries? This would work with really any drink, but I particularly like strawberry margaritas. Start with just a few sliced berries in the bottom of your drink glass with maybe some basil or mint leaves, then use a muddler or even the handle of a long wooden spoon to mash them up. Pour whatever concoction you've made over the muddled berries.

Red, White, and Green Salad4. Stuffed or Filled Strawberries: Those gargantuan strawberries come in handy for this one. They can be hollowed out and used for housing sorbet, ice cream, whipped cream, lemonade, or chilled soup. Genevieve's twin girls recently used them as teacups for a tea party! Make sure you trim off the points, so the strawberries can sit on a platter or plate and carefully carve out the inside with a paring knife. To impress guests, try putting sweetened whipped cream with a drop of almond extract into a zip-top bag, snipping the corner, and piping it into the strawberries. Then top with toasted sliced almonds, or shredded coconut. For a fancier alternative, try with softened, sweetened mascarpone cheese or fresh ricotta!

Related: Summer Grilling Ideas

5. Strawberry Spreads: Stir a handful of berries, finely chopped, and a few sprinkles of sugar into half a stick of softened butter or half a block of softened cream cheese. Place the spreads in airtight containers or little ramekins, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Use them on toast, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, or scones.

For some more of our favorite, easy dishes made with strawberries, check out some of our favorites, including our Strawberries & Cream Smoothie , Minted Fruit Salad , Berry Nice Pork Chops, Strawberry Sauce , and the beautiful Red, White & Green Salad . What are some of your favorite treats to make with strawberries? Let me know in the comments!

-by Jessica Fox

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