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How to enjoy wild strawberries and stuff ...

Watching a cooking show recently, I was surprised to hear the chef comment that strawberries are not usually a sweet fruit. If you're like me, I've always thought it was a given that the humungous red strawberry we buy in punnets, usually on special for 3 for $5.00 should be sweet. In fact, I feel cheated when I get ONE deliciously sweet berry out of those three packs!

So browsing through my photos, I came across images of the wild strawberries we grow at Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat as ground cover. At this time of year, and thanks to the over-the-top-amount of rain we've had, they are looking very plump and juicy. They stand out like little red jewels amongst the green grass and white flowers. I always think they are a great ambassador for the colours of Italy – red, white and green :) And perfect for this time of year too, being Christmas. You'll want to add fresh berries to your selection of desserts for sure.

In fact, I'm taking comfort in their timely presence. We've all gone through the year that will never be forgotten, which thankfully seems to have gone very fast. Still, it's left me feeling quite deflated. Except for when I walk through the backyard and see these little bursts of berries bopping amongst the grasses.

Not to mention they make me think of my late Dad who planted these wild strawberries here. He had the same type growing on his own land in Italy. The connection between the two, despite being on opposite sides of the world, and the connection it gives me to him is a lovely reward in itself. In this way, he'll be with us this Christmas too :)

But he would expect them to be collected and eaten, so here's a very simple "recipe" that you may already know of. It's my Mother's favourite way of serving them. And you can do this with the strawberries you buy too.

Wash the berries carefully.

Place in a bowl.

Add sugar* to taste.

Mash everything together.

Chill in the fridge.

Serve in a glass.

*my Mother uses white sugar but you could experiment with castor or brown. We all have different palettes when it comes to sweetness. Personally I love the taste of these wild strawberries as is. But I do remember inviting a guest to take a handful of them and their facial expression was less than impressed :)

Photos LTR: a handful of freshly picked wild strawberries at Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat; the joyful colours of our strawberry patches grown as ground cover; homegrown mulberries and wild strawberries top this dessert.** Delicious!!

** Check out @vickicookinspiration for this blueberry cheesecake recipe and more.

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