Although you can in fact get hold of them all year, there's still something special about buying your first punnet of British strawberries in June.

The start of the British strawberry season is one of the few markers of summer - increasingly hard to discern as the weather plays up - and the cue to indulge in lazy days at picnics, barbecues, and watching Wimbledon.

Depending on the amount of sunshine that comes our way in the next few months, strawberries are expected to remain in season until September - giving you plenty of opportunity to enjoy them as a tasty, guilt-free dessert.

But before you reach for the cream or the sugar bowl, why not be a bit more adventurous with your strawberries this year?

Check out the recipes below for deliciously different ways to dress up your strawberries.


(Serves six)

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2tbsps honey
  • 115g/4oz/1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup milk
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup pouring (whipping) cream
  • 4 gelatine leaves (8g) soaked in cold water and squeezed out
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup pouring (whipping) cream, extra, lightly whipped

For the balsamic strawberries:

  • 50g/1 3/4oz/1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 90ml/3fl oz Cointreau
  • 3tsps good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 500g/1lb 2oz strawberries, hulled and halved
  • A small handful of mint leaves, finely sliced

In a bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks, honey and half the sugar.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the vanilla bean, milk, cream and remaining sugar and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then return to a clean saucepan over medium heat.

Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Strain through a fine sieve, then measure out 500ml (17fl oz/2 cups) of the custard and place in a bowl.

Rinse six 125ml plastic dariole (small pudding) moulds with cold water.

Whisk the softened gelatine into the hot custard, then sit the bowl over iced water to cool, stirring constantly to stop it setting. Once cold, fold in the whipped cream, then immediately pour into the prepared moulds. Refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.

To make the balsamic strawberries, combine the sugar, Cointreau and vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Carefully tilt the pan and use a match to ignite and burn off the alcohol. Once the flame goes out, remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over the strawberries and set aside for 15 minutes to macerate.

To serve, run a warm paring knife around the edge of each mould to loosen the Bavarian creams, then invert and gently squeeze into the centre of serving bowls. Spoon the balsamic strawberries around the bowl and scatter with the mint.


(Serves six)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g/6oz/3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 500g/1lb 2oz strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • 600ml/21 fl oz pouring (whipping) cream, lightly whipped

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar and continue to whisk until all the sugar is used.

Spread the meringue mixture on the prepared tray to an even 1cm (1/2 inch) thickness and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow to dry in the oven for about one hour.

Meanwhile, place half the strawberries and the icing sugar in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve or piece of muslin to remove the seeds. Set aside.

Break the meringue into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl with the remaining strawberries. Fold in the whipped cream. Lastly, fold in a little of the strawberry puree to create a marbled effect - do not overmix.

Divide among six individual serving glasses or spoon into a large glass bowl. Drizzle with the remaining strawberry puree and serve immediately.


  • Nature's alternative to Botox: Strawberries are your skin's best friend, packed full of anti-ageing antioxidants. Not only do the nutrients improve circulation to the skin which results in a youthful and attractive glow, they protect against sun damage, one of the major culprits for premature ageing of the skin.
  • Burn fat and lose weight: Strawberries are one of the top fat-burning foods. If you want to lose weight ensure that berries are part of your daily diet. A large 300g punnet of strawberries has the same GL (glycaemic load) - the same effect on your blood sugar and weight - as one single date, ten raisins or one third of a banana.
  • Get some attention during all that summer sport: Feed your man British berries and reap the benefits. Zinc-rich strawberries will help to keep his libido in peak condition, meaning you'll both be happy during the month of June. Zinc is also essential for healthy sperm, so if you're hoping to get pregnant then strawberries and raspberries are a conception boost.
  • Put a stop to sugar cravings: Berries contain the slowest-releasing natural sugars, meaning that you'll be less tempted by that mid-morning chocolate bar and less likely to suffer from mid-afternoon burn-out.
  • Increase vitality: Berries have the lowest glycaemic load rating which means they give you a consistent energy level. Reaching for sugar-laden goodies is the energy equivalent of a yo-yo - your body goes into overdrive, a quick peak followed by a sharp slump. Eat berries by the handful, summer and winter, to keep your blood sugar on an even keel.

Additionally, psychologists have proved that red fruit sends energy-boosting messages to the brain. Give yourself a wake-up call by eating strawberries.

  • No more hangover hell: Rich in phytonutrients, berries promote effective liver function; great news for detoxing with the added benefit of making hangovers less painful and more short-lived.
  • Boost your immune system: Packed with folic acid and Vitamin C, berries have the highest antioxidant power of any fruit - giving a powerful boost to your immune system and helping your body fight off infection. Five strawberries contain more antioxidant power than three apples or four bananas, and more Vitamin C than an entire orange.
  • Reduce the risk of cancer: Berries contain a number of powerful anti-cancer nutrients not found in any vitamin pill. Strawberries have been shown to inhibit development of cervical, oesophageal and oral cancer.
  • Alleviate allergies: Fed up with applying steroid creams and/or puffing on an inhaler? The high quercitin content in strawberries can bring respite for eczema and asthma sufferers.
  • Improve memory: Berries are your brain's best friend, not only because of their high antioxidant status but also because they are the best fruit source of folic acid. Extra intake of folic acid can reverse memory decline and sharpen concentration.