Does that box of strawberries you bought leave you less than whelmed? Sure, they look great in the package, all bright and red, thanks to ethylene gas used to “ripen” them after being picked, allowing the strawberries to fool your eye, but not your sense of taste. Can those less-than-stellar strawberries be saved?
Yes! In many cases those store-bought red, but not-so-flavorful, strawberries can be improved on by simply roasting them in the oven. Yep, baking strawberries will make them taste better. Don’t believe us? Scratch out a pound yourself. You can thank us later.
We based the amount of sugar on this post by The Wednesday Chef.
If you have great-tasting strawberries, don’t use them for this recipe. Instead, eat those as nature intended, just as they are. For this recipe, use up the strawberries that are just so-so. Even though you can skimp on the quality of strawberries, use a pretty good balsamic vinegar. Don’t use the cheap stuff that comes in a quart or liter bottle. Trust us, that’s not good balsamic vinegar. Instead, look for something in smaller bottles, and try a few until you find something you like. We happen to like and buy Trader Joe’s “gold-label” balsamic vinegar. The price point to taste ratio is one we can live with.
We used up a little over 2 pounds of strawberries in the photos, but we scaled the recipe for a single pound. Following the recipe you’ll end up with less than in the photos, of course.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Assemble strawberries. Basically, hull and slice the strawberries, then place them in a baking dish that will hold them. Sprinkle with sugar (if your strawberries are super-sweet, use less sugar; if they’re tart and under-ripe, use a bit more) and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Finish up with a sprinkle of kosher salt. No need to toss or stir, or anything, because we’ll do that later while the strawberries bake.
Bake. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet — to catch any spills (we learned the hard way, you learned by reading this) — and slide into the oven. Bake 60 to 90 minutes (or longer, if you wish), stirring every 30 minutes or so.
Cool. Remove from the oven and let cool before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating or freezing.
Use these strawberries as you’d use a strawberry sauce: over ice cream, or, as we did, and spoon some over pieces of cake, similar to strawberry short cake. (We had cake pieces in the freezer from when we made a tiny birthday cake the other day — couldn’t let it go to waste.) The strawberries are intensely flavored, somewhat sweet, but also somewhat tart, and bursting with the taste of strawberries. Something this easy shouldn’t be this good. Five stars.