Balsamic Strawberries, A Simple Spring Dessert

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Balsamic Strawberries

It is definitely strawberry season here in San Diego, and it’s hard to resist basket after basket of these little beauties. I like to buy mine at the local farmers markets, always searching for the local Carlsbad strawberries. In any case, I always want organic berries, since most berries absorb pesticides faster than many other fruits. In a pinch, the organic ones from Trader Joe’s taste almost as good and usually come from up north near Watsonville or Castroville, famous for rich soil and beautiful produce.

Pairing strawberries with balsamic vinegar has been on my list of desserts-to-try. Since I had recently splurged on a small bottle of good quality balsamic vinegar, I decided to make this for dessert earlier this week when a friend shared supper with us.  You can play with how much vinegar and sugar you want, depending on the sweetness of your berries. We enjoyed these “straight”, but they would pair nicely with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Such a pretty dessert, it’s fun to play with your presentation. I dusted off some parfait glasses that were a wedding present to my grandparents, vintage 1922. They have an iridescent tint to them that I’ve loved since I was a little girl….Chilled martini glasses might be equally pretty.

Happy Spring!

TIP: Macerate the berries just before dinner, allowing them to sit at room temperature. This will add to the juices and fresh, bright flavors of this simple spring dessert.

Balsamic Strawberries, A Simple Spring Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
Macerating spring strawberries in balsamic vinegar for a simple, elegant dessert.
  • 1 pint organic strawberries, washed, hulled and halved - quartered, if large
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon best quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon best quality vanilla
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional garnish)
  1. Combine the strawberries, vinegar, sugar and vanilla in a non-reactive bowl.
  2. Allow berries to macerate - or "rest" - for 1 hour.
  3. Serve in individual glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.


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19 Responses to Balsamic Strawberries, A Simple Spring Dessert

  1. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator March 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Gorgeous Liz, and I love the story about the glasses too.

    • Liz March 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks – I rarely use the glasses because I worry they will get broken, but my grandmother always told me, “Use your pretty things all the time.”

  2. TheWimpyVegetarian March 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    This might be one of the best ways to enjoy strawberries. And your photo is just stunning. I love it.

    • Liz March 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

      Fits with our healthy lifestyle, right – my motivating healthy food-writing friend.

  3. Mare March 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Gorgeous! I am having breakfast in Punakha, Bhutan and Spring is just beginning in the Himalayans…no strawberries!

    • Liz March 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

      Wow – can’t wait to hear all when you and Freddy return – travel safely and Happy Easter. X0

  4. Lynda - TasteFood March 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    This is one of my favorite ways to serve strawberries. We never get tired of them!

    • Liz March 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Funny I had never tried this before, a new favorite here.

  5. Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    I love the photo Liz. Our strawberries just started tasting wonderful again too. Orly, from the blog Yumivore, taught me about a type of ricotta cheese called soprafina that you can find at Whole Foods. If you pair it with the strawberries and balsamic, it is just delicious – snack, lunch, bkfst, or dessert.

    • Liz March 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      I’m going to look for that cheese – thanks for the tip.

  6. Wendy Read March 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Stunning photo, I love the glasses too 🙂 I have a pitcher with drinking glasses that was my Grandmother’s too and I have NEVER used it, too precious….wanted to tell you that Driscoll’s is out of Watsonville so my berries come from there on our off season. We are just hitting strawberry peak right now (about three weeks ago). Costco’s Kirkland brand of Balsamic is not bad at all after you finish your expensive one!

    • Liz March 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Thanks – I paid a ton for a little bottle, Wendy – and I am a Costco shopper.

  7. Suzanne March 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    I love strawberries and balsamic, straight up,I can’t wait for the strawberries to hit the farmers market here in NYC. Still in the 30’s brrrrr…. Your berries give me hope that Spring will be here soon,

    • Liz March 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Funny, I always think of you as a California girl – you have had quite the winter. Remember, I moved here from Chicago – brr…

  8. Jayne March 24, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I have never tried strawberries this way, great recipe Liz! It’s not quite strawberry season here, feels a long way off as we are still getting snow!

    • Liz March 25, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      You deserve a California vacation, Jayne –

  9. sippitysup March 26, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Perfection. No ice cream needed. GREG

    • Liz March 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      I agree – less is definitely more here –

  10. Oui, Chef April 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    I can’t WAIT until we have fresh strawberries here, I miss them more than anything over the winter.

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