Strawberries and Balsamic

by Jill Chen on May 22, 2012

in All Recipes, Desserts, Fruit

Our strawberry infatuation continues! Jill’s strawberry post today reminds us that so much of what tastes great can come from our own backyard and it’s time to get planting. And I love that strawberries don’t need much to be transformed into a sophisticated dish. -Maggie

This year I am obsessed with turning our backyard into an urban food forest. How wonderful to be able to walk into the garden at any time and sample what’s growing?

Foraging and nibbling what nature has to offer is surely becoming a family pastime with our strawberries emerging as a star crop. The succulent red berries come back year after year and flourish with very little maintenance.

Our biggest strawberry dilemma? With five sets of hands wrangling over the first summer berry, there are never enough… so I’ve planted MORE! More strawberries, as well as multiple blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and red currant bushes.

A vertical experiment,  as well as a conventional patch (netted off from wandering pet chickens and rabbits), is the newest addition to the  strawberries already growing in the greenhouse.

These survived winter in the greenhouse, frozen in the clay pebbles of the  aquaponics grow bed.

These vertical towers from Lee Valley can each hold 14 plants. In addition to the strawberries, I’ve also got two types of kale and assorted herbs growing.  We’d love to hear what else besides strawberries are growing in your own food forest?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is to toss them with balsamic vinegar. It’s tangy, but with a hint of sweetness. You can use the really good aged stuff, straight out of the bottle, or boil down a less expensive version into a balsamic glaze  with a little honey or brown sugar.

Adding balsamic to strawberries (or grilled peaches!) elevates the fruit to a very grown-up dessert. Here’s how:

Wash, trim and slice your strawberries.

Add a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar or glaze to suit your taste.

Toss and let it sit for about five minutes, then spoon over vanilla ice cream.

If you have fresh basil on hand, chopped it up and add that too!

Balsamic Strawberries


  • Fresh Strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic or balsamic glaze
  • Sprigs of fresh basil, finely chopped in strawberries, or as a garnish (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream


  1. Wash, trim and slice strawberries.
  2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons  (or more to your liking),  balsamic vinegar or glaze.
  3. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then spoon over vanilla ice cream.

All photos styled and taken by Jill Chen.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans.  We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can  order today.

Jill Chen

Jill Chen, photographer, graphic designer, and urban farmer resides in Toronto, Canada with her chickens and mini pet pig named Henry. After running a design studio for twenty years, Jill gave it all up for a simpler way of living. When she's not making food or photographing food, she's growing food with the goal of being self-sustaining with year-round organic produce, despite the harsh Canadian winter. Charcuterie, wine-making, mushroom cultivation, aquaponics and shrimp farming are just a few of the projects on her plate right now. You can follow Jill's blog, Freestyle Farm, for beautiful photos that will inspire you to cook or grow something.

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