I have food guilt. Not the guilt from having eaten too much food. The guilt of knowing that food is going bad in my fridge RIGHT NOW! I really hate throwing fruits and veggies in the compost because I waited too long to use them. But sometimes I can’t keep up with my own kitchen.
Someone had left two baskets of strawberries in my fridge and I woke up one morning knowing they were on their last little legs. I could almost hear them calling to me, “End it! End our suffering!”
Okay, that’s a little morbid. I did feel the need to use them before they went off, and of course I had a loaf of beer bread eyeing me from the top of the fridge. The pressure was on. I diced up the strawberries and a few other things, tossed them into a sauce pot while we sipped our coffee on the back porch, and in ten minutes we were happily munching on breakfast.
I don’t know what this would be called. I like to think of it as a sweet chutney because of my Indian food background, but I guess it would be closer to a warm fruit spread. I welcome proper classification from a foodie know-it-all.
1 cup diced strawberries
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup (or less) white wine or dry vermouth
I diced up the strawberries into big chunks, and because they were not completely fresh, they were a little on the dry side. So when I put them into the sauce pan with the sugar, I poured a little dry vermouth in also, just to moisten the sugar and berries. (I always have a bottle of Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth for cooking instead of wine because the vermouth has added aromatics that give a lovely depth to dishes.) I suppose if you’re boring, you could just add a little water.
The candied ginger can be tricky to dice up because it’s so sticky. I love having a big bag of Reeds crystallized ginger on hand. It’s great for digestion after a particularly heavy meal. And it’s fun to add a little pop of flavor to cookies, oatmeal, and now fruit. If you can find the grain on each piece of ginger, it makes your life easier here. Chop this up to a reasonably small size and mix that into the strawberries.
Then chop up the mint leaves into fine ribbons and add that as well. Mint is wonderful to grow because it hardly needs any maintenance as long as it gets enough water and light. My one plant is actively taking over the front porch. I suspect it makes nasty threats to the other plants when I’m not around.
Anyhow, on a medium low heat, stirring occasionally, this should be done in less than ten minutes. The strawberries will get very soft, but they should remain pinkish in the center, and the liquid will look like soupy jelly. Spread on some thick-cut toast and enjoy.
As for me, I can hear some potatoes and an onion in the fridge asking for Dr. Kevorkian, so I suppose I’ll need to make some soup today.