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Perking up winter strawberries

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Any ideas on how to up the flavor quotient of winter strawberries - to be used as a sweetened topping for a strawberry-vanilla cheesecake (requested by strawberry-loving friends, not something I would normally make this time of year).
Balsamic and pepper don't seem appropriate...have used vanilla...rosewater? booze? any ideas?
Many thanks!

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  1. buttertart, once I stem and clean the berries they float in a honey & orange juice "bath" about 10 mins before serving or topping a dessert. I've tried using oj & liquers too but prefer the honey.

    1. If a strawberry does not smell like a strawberry (and one should never buy strawberries without smelling them first; same with melons), I just don't buy it, whether it's in season or not. And I only buy organic berries. Berries soak up pesticides like sponges.

      1. A good way to spruce up winter berries is clean then, cut into chunks (the very large berries should be cut in half or quarters) and marinate in sugar (to taste) and Marsala wine. Let steep for 30 -60 minutes before serving.

        1. FlavorsGal, I agree.
          I would much rather buy IQF berries that were picked in season, then the tasteless red seed-balls that are sold for 75% of the year. The imported berries are full of chemicals, and have no flavors or aroma, and yet the price is still more than what I pay for local berries in season.

          Buttertart, Is it possible that you could use a recipe that is something other than whole berries? IQF berries can make a great cake filling, sauces, ice cream and even the occasional tart. I have used them whole in pies, and while they aren't as good as fresh berries in June , they have much more flavors that what is available fresh now.

          1. On the eastcoast farm berries are avail for 2 mos if the growing conditions are ideal. For strawberry lovers that's about 10 mos shy of deliciousness. So, we accept our climate and buy market berries that arrive from diff growers across the country. They aren't always great or a reasonable price but more times than not they are better than frozen bags of berries and quite good for recipes. buttertart, if you are looking for a way to use the berries you have, I would recommend trying a sweetening method.