HandmadePictures/iStock/GettyImages

As the days heat up, and strawberries come into season, the sweet red fruit is a fresh and light dish to serve for dessert. Whether macerated in a little sugar, transformed into a strawberry sauce for shortcake or tossed into a berry medley for a crumble, strawberries are a delicious treat. With a few tips on how to prepare strawberries for a quick and easy recipe, strawberries can play the starring role in your summer desserts.

Ways to Prepare Strawberries

Coring Strawberries

When preparing strawberries, it is important to core them for a beautifully cut berry. To easily core a strawberry, simply use the point of a paring, or short, knife and insert it into the top of the strawberry where the red and seeded flesh turns white. Turn the knife in a circle around the top of the strawberry, following the edge of the red flesh to cut out and discard all of the white flesh, which is the strawberry's core inside. Once loosened and cut free, throw the entire top away, both the white flesh and the green top.

Cutting Strawberries

There are several ways to cut strawberries. The easiest is to slice them. To slice strawberries, simply cut straight across the top of the berry to remove the green top and don't core out the center. Place the strawberry on the now flat-sided top and thinly slice the berry all the way across into about four to six pieces. To use as a garnish on a glass, tear the soft membrane of the core and slide a piece onto the rim of the glass.

To quarter strawberries, core them first. Once cored, cut the strawberry in half and cut each half in half again. This will provide you with bite-sized pieces that are easy to eat. Smaller pieces will cook more quickly, making this a good option for preparing strawberry sauce. Quartered or chopped strawberries are both great for macerating because there is more surface area for the strawberries to quickly absorb the sugar.

Strawberry Sauce for Shortcake Recipe

Total Time: 35 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2 1/2 cups sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries (about 2 quarts)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat on the stovetop.

  2. Stir occasionally until the mixture boils, about eight to 10 minutes.

  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 20 minutes or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  4. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour the mixture into a storage container, such as a glass jar. Allow it to cool completely before covering with a lid.

  5. Once cooled, keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

This homemade strawberry sauce is perfect for topping ice cream or shortcake. Try adding a sprig of fresh mint for something a little different.

Macerated Strawberry Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries (about 2 quarts)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, core and quarter the strawberries after washing and patting them dry.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the strawberries and the sugar.

  3. Gently stir the strawberries and sugar together to coat.

  4. Leave the strawberries to sit in the sugar for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

  5. Use a spoon to serve the strawberries in their sugary juices either chilled or at room temperature.

This recipe is easy and comes together quickly as a last-minute dessert. Add a little extra flare by topping with homemade whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint.

About the Author

Molly Harris

Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.