I was always drawn to baking because there is almost a science behind it that fascinated me. Strawberry puree for example, I could just tell you what to do & you’d be happy with the results, or, I could explain & you’d be happy with the knowledge. The trick to a good berry puree for example is to freeze the berries first. Why you ask? Well, freezing them encourages the walls of the cells that make up the berries to break down. This means that when they’re defrosted, they release all of that great juice. I know you could just as easily coat the berries in sugar & it will have the same effect by drawing the juice out, but then you’re adding sugar to your puree. Not that I have anything against adding sugar to a puree, it’s just, I don’t want that sugar interferring with the rest of my recipe (speaking hypothetically of course because I haven’t included the puree into a recipe yet, at least not one that’s been shared). Right, so let’s get back to the berries releasing all of that amazing juice. You want this to happen because you want to be able to boil down all that juice to remove the excess water from it & condense all of that deliciouse flavor. “Why not just puree the whole berry & then cook that?” I hear you ask? Well, because then you remove the fresh flavor from it all. So here’s the trick. You freeze the berry to help it loose all that water weight so to speak, boil that down so that the water evaporates leaving you with a flavorful syrup, and then add it back to the berry & puree it all together! That way you end up with a fantastically fresh flavor without it being all watery! TA-DAAAA!!!! See, told you there was a science to it. And here you were thinking you should just stick it in a blender & go.
There’s something else too. Since we’re working with frozen berries, you can buy them already frozen rather than going for fresh. I hear you asking once again what’s the big deal with that… well, frozen is always cheaper aaaaaaand, frozen are picked right at their peak of ripeness & then frozen immediately. So you’re getting the best tasting, most vibrantly coloured berry available to you. Where as fresh, especially out of season, can often be very over priced & a little tasteless. So there you go, buy yourself some frozen organic strawberries & make the best strawberry puree you can get your hands on. Not to mention that you can freeze the puree once it’s made & it will keep for months, & it can be frozen & defrosted several times without any ill effects. I mean don’t over-do-it of course, but make a little extra…. you never know when or where you might want to put it.
Any way, sit tight & keep watching because I promise I will show you several ways to use this amazing stuff.
– 1Kg frozen strawberries
1. place the berries in a strainer & put that over a bowl. Allow the berries to defrost (this may take several hours). The majority of the juice should be in the bowl by the time they are defrosted, but you can ensure it is all out by gently pressing the berries with the back of a spoon against the strainer.
2. place the juice in a pot & boil over medium heat until the juice has reduced down to about a quarter of it’s starting volume. Remove from the heat & allow to cool completely. Add the juice back to the remaining flesh of the berries & puree until smooth.
3. the puree will last in the fridge up to a week & in the freezer for several months. It can be defrosted & frozen again without any ill effects.
4. This recipe will yield approx. 3 cups of strawberry puree.
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