Next time you have more strawberries, blackberries or raspberries than you know what to do with, follow this simple step: Sprinkle sugar on them, toss them to coat, and let them sit for 30 minutes to overnight.
The process of adding sugar (or in some cases, a splash of liqueur for additional flavor) to fruit and letting it steep over time is known as maceration. In addition to enhancing their natural sweetness, macerating amplifies berries’ natural flavor. Fruit will soften as it macerates, and generate a thin syrup that’s saturated with berry flavor. Expect the end product to possess the brightness of fruit fruit with a texture that’s reminiscent of a compote.
Because sugar is a natural preservative, macerating is a great method for extending the life of berries that are less than perfect in appearance or just past their prime. Fruit prepared this way can last for up to three or four days covered in the fridge.
Just about any type of berry works here, from strawberries and raspberries to blueberries and marionberries. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to put macerated berries to good use.
- Strain out the syrup, add club soda, and enjoy a refreshing homemade soda.
- Spoon it over plain yogurt or ice cream.
- Stir it into oatmeal for breakfast.
- Serve it alongside whipped cream for a simple dessert.
- Use it as a juicy topping on store-bought or homemade pound cake.