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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, July 24

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« Friday Foodporn: A Sign of Spring Sunday Brunch at its Best »

Feature Fri Apr 09 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

When winter turns to spring, our thoughts turn to warm, sunny days, blooming flowers and eventually, sweet, fresh fruit. And while we'll have to wait a few months for the best and the ripest, the cheapest may be available sooner than you think... if you like strawberries, that is. According to multiple news outlets, strawberries at local supermarkets are (or will be soon) selling for half as much as they usually do. This sudden drop in price is due to a late frost in Florida, which caused the harvest there to be pushed back to the same time that the California crop hit the market. The result? Eighty million pounds of strawberries picked last week alone.

For strawberry lovers, news of the strawberry glut is music to our ears. Personally, my favorite way to eat a strawberry has always been plain and adorned. I like to grab hold of the leafy end and just sink my teeth in, but as experts will tell you (and your taste buds will probably confirm), the mass-market strawberries available to us now often lack the full, sweet strawberry flavor we yearn for, so dressing them up helps coax out the best in them.

IMG_5192.jpgOne simple yet unexpected way to serve strawberries is with balsamic vinegar. Since you're working with just a few ingredients - the berries, the vinegar, a small amount of sweetener and maybe some fresh herbs - the key is to use good quality vinegar. It doesn't have to be top-of-the-line but it's best if it's not bottom-of-the-barrel either. Below are two methods for creating a balsamic and berry dessert: one involves reducing the vinegar down to make a sauce while the other uses a technique called maceration which allows the strawberries to soak up the flavor of the vinegar.

Each recipe produces delicious yet surprisingly different results. Try both, or, if you're in baking mood, make pie or shortcake with your bushels of cheap berries. Whatever you do, don't let this opportunity for cheap fruit pass you by...

Recipes adapted from The Kitchn.

IMG_5197.jpgMacerated Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Strawberries (8-16 oz.)
Balsamic vinegar
Chopped mint or basil

Wash and slice strawberries and sprinkle with a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and sugar. Let stand for 20 minutes or more in the refrigerator. Serve sprinkled with herbs or on top of vanilla ice cream.

Strawberries with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Strawberries (8-16 oz.)
1/3 - 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Chopped mint or basil

Simmer vinegar over medium-low heat until reduced by half, until it is thickened a bit and a little sticky. Remove from heat and stir in honey. Wash and slice berries. Divide up into serving dishes and drizzle sauce over berries. Serve sprinkled with herbs and/or with fresh whipped cream.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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