Marinating strawberries is an easy way to rescue unripe berries, because the marinade adds both moisture and flavor. Marinated strawberries make a flavorful topping for pound cake, cheesecake or strawberry shortcake, and they shine when served simply in a parfait or topped with whipped cream or mascarpone cheese. Although strawberries are a fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free food, with only 50 calories in eight medium berries, the marinade will increase the calories count. If you are counting calories, use only use only ripe, sweet berries, eliminate the sugar, and stick with citrus zest and juice or vinegar for flavor.
Rinse the strawberries well under cold, running water. Remove any leaves on top of the berries.
Slice the berries from top to bottom into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Try to achieve a uniform size for the berries so that they absorb the same amount of marinade.
Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle the sugar over them. Toss to make sure all of the berries are covered with the sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
Add the citrus zest and marinating liquid of your choice to the berries. Recover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Get creative with herbs and spices in your strawberries. Add some cinnamon or fresh vanilla to the berries while marinating, or toss with some freshly chopped spearmint or mint leaves before serving.
If you are trying to reduce the amount of white table sugar that you consume, use some brown sugar or corn syrup instead.
Because strawberries possess a high moisture content, they can quickly develop mold, even if refrigerated. If any of your berries do develop mold, discard them rather than trying to cut the mold away. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service cautions that mold that shows up on the surface of fruits may have contaminated it throughout, leaving the door open for those who consume them to develop respiratory problems or allergic reactions, or develop serious food-borne illness from mycotoxins.
Do not serve strawberries marinated in liqueur, wine or any other alcoholic beverage to children younger than 21.