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A celebration of summer's sweetest gift

The first 'garden strawberry' is thought to have been bred in France in the 1750s. The scientific name for the everyday strawberry is 'Fragaria Ananassa', derived from the Latin word for fragrant.

When gardens are bursting with these cheery red fruits, it's a sure sign that summertime has arrived. Nothing beats home-grown – sinking your teeth into a freshly-picked, sun-warmed strawberry is the taste of sunshine.

Home-grown berries are beautifully soft and luscious when ripe – so much yummier than forced supermarket varieties, and growing them is easier than you'd think too. Just one prolific little plant will yield a bountiful crop, producing delicate green leaves, flushes of white flowers and deeply coloured strawberries that brim with natural sweetness.

" Like apples and plums, strawberries come from the rose family and wild strawberries have grown in Britain for centuries."

Like apples and plums, strawberries come from the rose family and wild strawberries have grown in Britain for centuries. It's difficult to trace their origins, but some records say they were enjoyed as far back as Roman times!

We can only guess how they got their name – perhaps because straw is sometimes placed around the plant to protect the delicate fruit, or maybe because, in the 19th century, children would thread them onto long grass to sell as 'straws of berries'.

Strawberry Essentials

Queen of tarts

Enjoy a slice of summer with fresh strawberries and a moreish crème patisserie filling.

Strawberry Tart

What you need (serves 8)

  • Sweet pastry

    • 150g plain flour
    • 75g butter, slightly softened
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 3 large egg yolks
  • Custard

    • 500ml milk, semi-skimmed
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3 tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Topping

    • 800g strawberries
    • icing sugar
    • 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly

What you do

  1. For the pastry, mix the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and, when the dough has come together, tip onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the custard, gently warm the milk in a saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until thick, pale and creamy. Add the flour, cornflour and lemon zest and whisk until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the warmed milk to the mixture, whisking all the time. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and cook at a very low heat until the custard starts to thicken and bubble. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the fridge. Cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Grease a loose-bottomed 23cm non-stick flan tin. Knead the chilled pastry lightly to soften then press into the tin. Prick the base with a fork, cover with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Chill for 15 minutes and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C/375°F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for about 5 more minutes until the pastry is cooked and just golden brown.
  5. When cool, spoon in the custard, top with the strawberries, drizzle over a little warmed redcurrant jelly and dust with icing sugar.

Mix it up

The gourmet way to serve strawberries. Enhanced by a dash of balsamic vinegar they give heady goats' cheese a sweet, tangy edge.

Strawberry Salad

What you need (serves 4)

  • 6-8 strawberries
  • 200g baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cucumber
  • 150g goats' cheese
  • handful of mint leaves For the dressing
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 10ml runny honey
  • salt and pepper to taste.

What you do

  • Simply divide the ingredients equally onto 4 plates and drizzle over the dressing.


Grown-up, sweet and crisp,
with a little bit of fizz, it's
romance in a bowl.

Champagne Strawberry Sorbet

What you need (serves 4)

  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 300ml (10fl oz) champagne
  • 350g (12oz) strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lime

What you do

  1. In a pan, slowly dissolve sugar in the champagne, then bring to the boil. Add the lime rind and juice, then simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave until completely cool.
  2. Blend the strawberries to a smooth purée, then add to the cold sugar syrup. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine, and freeze-churn until ready to serve.

We love the
muffin man

Yummy muffin + juicy
strawberry = cake heaven

Strawberry Muffins

What you need (serves 12)

  • 75g porridge oats
  • 225ml buttermilk
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 175gm light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 175g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped roughly

What you do

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oats and buttermilk and leave to stand for 5 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt in another bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat together the egg, oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Blend in the oat mixture, stir in the flour mix until just moistened and fold in the strawberries.
  5. Three-quarter fill 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 mins.