While we’re still trying to fight off winter, spring has already sprung in some of our sunshine states like Florida and California. When I you start to see fragrant strawberries from these states popping up in your stores, you know that warmer days are right around the corner. At least, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself…
There are few things better in life than a perfectly red, ripe strawberry. When I buy them, I can always be counted upon to eat at least half of the clamshell package on the way home. So I’ve learned my lesson and usually buy two, just to be on the safe side. As much as I love to eat them “as-is”, it’s so much fun to cook and bake with them in the kitchen!
Cake. Cupcakes. Ice Cream. Vodka. Margaritas. Salad. Salsa. Syrup. You name it – I’ve made it! But one thing that was conspicuously missing was a good homemade strawberry sauce. Which, oddly is probably the easiest of all of those things to make. Fresh strawberries cooked down with a bit of sugar and a vanilla bean. Heaven over a bowl of yogurt and granola in the morning, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the evening…
Look for berries that are a deep red in color, but most importantly – smell them! Good strawberries are extremely fragrant. That’s usually my rule of thumb for most fruits, actually – the better it smells the better it’ll taste. So, keep your sniffer in mind the next time you’re in the produce aisle!
Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Sauce
1 pint fresh strawberries, wash and trimmed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean (split and seeds removed), or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Halve or quarter strawberries and place in medium-sized saucepan. Add sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Add the vanilla bean pod and seeds, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.
Mash any large pieces up with masher or wooden spoon. If you like a smoother consistency puree half of the sauce in a food processor, then reincorporate it.
Sauce can be stored in an airtight container refrigerated for 1 week.