FoodHow to turn wild strawberries into a tantalising liqueur

How to turn wild strawberries into a tantalising liqueur

Wild strawberries
Wild strawberries
Images source: © Adobe Stock

20 June 2024 18:04

Want to preserve the taste and aroma of wild strawberries for longer? Take a cue from our ancestors and prepare a delicious liqueur from these fruits to brighten up those gloomy autumn and winter evenings. How to go about it?

The popular perennial herb grows in sunlit forest clearings, logging areas, and roadsides. Around mid-June, its shrubs bear small, red fruits that are very sweet and aromatic. Wild strawberries were already appreciated in ancient times. Ovid and Virgil described them as the fruits of Pomona, the goddess of orchards and gardens. Hippocrates and Pliny admired the medicinal properties of this plant.

Wild strawberries were also eagerly eaten and used as an herbal product. In folk medicine, the leaves were primarily used. They exhibited cleansing and toxin-neutralising properties, as well as strengthening the blood vessels and soothing inflammations of the mucous membranes. Infusing wild strawberry leaves provides valuable antioxidants, regulates metabolism, and positively affects the skin.

Wild strawberry leaves were also used as a spice; they were used to flavour wine or tea and added to baked or stewed meats. They gave the dish a delicate, sweetish, distinctly forest taste and smell.

Our ancestors eagerly made various preserves from wild strawberries: jams, confitures, and juices. They also prepared excellent alcoholic beverages from them, especially aromatic liqueur. How did they do it?

Wild strawberries – nutritional properties

Wild strawberries reach their best taste when they are fully ripe. They also have the most nutritional value now, which is not significantly inferior to their more famous cousins – strawberries.

These tasty fruits are rich in vitamin C, which not only strengthens our immunity but also neutralises the harmful activity of free radicals that accelerate the ageing of the body and promote the development of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Potent antioxidants in wild strawberries include polyphenolic compounds, primarily tannins (which have astringent effects on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent diarrhoea) and anthocyanins – pigments that stimulate the immune system, protect the circulatory system, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve visual acuity.

wild strawberries
wild strawberries© Adobe Stock

Wild strawberries also provide a solid dose of vitamin A, B vitamins (especially B1, B2, and B6), and minerals: calcium, phosphorus, cobalt, and iron.

Wild strawberry liqueur – how to make it

Wild strawberries are best picked by yourself. To fully enjoy their unique taste and aroma, go to the forest early in the morning or evening before the fruits are covered with dew. They should be used as quickly as possible, as they mould and lose their scent quickly, even in the refrigerator.

Select, wash, and remove the stems from 1 kilogram of ripe wild strawberries, then place them in a large jar and lightly crush them. Pour in 570 millilitres of vodka and an equal amount of spirit. Seal tightly and place in a warm, sunny spot.

After 24 hours, strain the liqueur through filter paper and mix it with a cooled syrup of 170 millilitres water and 500 grams of sugar. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pour into bottles, seal tightly, and store in a dark, cool place, preferably for 3-4 months. After this time, you can start to enjoy the wild strawberry liqueur.

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