master the macerated berries

The berry season is in full swing. The guys like their berries many ways. A dollop of fresh, whipped cream here. A splash of  just-squeezed orange juice there. We scored some chocolate mint for the season.

For some weird reason, the last two growing seasons, the chocolate mint in the garden came back, but without the unique chocolate flavor. This year we’re  putting it in a pot and taking it inside when the air starts to get a chill.

Let’s not think about that since we’ll probably be in the pool after school today.

Have you ever tried your berries soaked in something tart like balsamic vinegar? Macerating fruit means to soak it in a liquid until it is soft. Another method is to sprinkle the fruit with sugar to help draw out the natural juices of the fruit. Who says you can’t do both methods? Bring out every flavor you can for a refreshing dessert.

These are the first of our strawberries.

For this recipe, remove the stems of your strawberries. Slice them lengthwise. Place them in a shallow bowl and dish. Sprinkle with sugar. In our kitchen, we like to use the raw sugar. It has a distinct flavor and texture.

The granules are an amber color and the crystals are larger than granulated sugar. When used on the surface of something like strawberries, it adds a nice crunch to the bite.

Leave the strawberries for about 30 minutes. You will notice some of the juices of the strawberries will start to pool in the bottom of the dish.

Now, add your blueberries. Splash some balsamic vinegar over the berries. You can put a little more sugar to balance the  acidity of the balsamic vinegar. Allow the berries to rest in the mixture for about an hour.

Our blueberries are looking good.

The berries soak up the tartness of the balsamic vinegar. This mixes with the sweet juices from the berries and balances the flavors. The vinegar also works to soften the texture of the berries. Serve in bowls and add whatever toppings you like. Cream, that has been whipped, works with some mint.

We also like this berry dish with the richness of a marscapone cheese. We  play a version of guess-the-mint-in-the-macerated-berries game. Is it the citrus mint with the orange flavor? Do you taste a hint of chocolate from the chocolate mint?

On a warm night, last summer, the slow, evening breeze carried the scent of the chocolate mint past us as we had dinner outside. It was like sitting in a bowl of  mint chocolate ice cream. Try and find some for your garden this summer.

Stay tuned!

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