Ingredient Intelligence

4 Ways to Make Bland Strawberries a Lot Sweeter

published Jun 6, 2017
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Even when you know just what to look for when picking out a carton of strawberries, there is no true guarantee for that sweet, juicy flavor you expect from prime summer berries. If you’re faced with bland berries, fear not — there is still hope. Here are four easy ways to make bland strawberries a whole lot sweeter.

1. Macerate the berries.

The quickest, easiest path to sweeter strawberries is tossing them with a spoonful of sugar (or sugar substitute, if you prefer). Just a little bit of sugar is all you need. Spoon it over chopped or sliced berries, stir together, then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes before digging in. Want to up the flavor even more? Consider adding a splash of juice or your favorite booze to give berries a flavorful twist.

2. Roast them in the oven.

No extra sugar needed with this method — just crank up the oven to increase the sweetness of bland berries. Roasting strawberries in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes works to concentrate the natural sugar in the fruit, leaving it with a heightened sweetness, deep, rich flavor, and slightly softened texture. Roasted strawberries are just as versatile as raw berries, so it’s up to you whether to enjoy them warm or chilled. They can be spooned over yogurt or oats, or used as a shortcake filling, ice cream topping, or sweet addition to a salad.

3. Bake with them.

Repurpose the way you use bland berries for sweeter results. A basket of subpar berries might not be great for eating out of hand, but they are ideal for baking. Between the sugar used in most baked goods and the heat from the oven, bland berries will pick up more sweetness when baked into treats like muffins, blondies, pies, and bars.

4. Cook them into jam.

Bland strawberries will be totally transformed with a deep, sweet flavor when you cook them down into a thick, spreadable jam. The quickest, easiest version requires just a couple spoonfuls of your sweetener of choice, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some chia seeds, although traditional quick jam is also a great option if you have some time.