StrawberriesIrish strawberries are now available through much of the year thanks to the fact that Keelings (, in particular, have invested so heavily in glasshouses, extending the season from April to December instead of just a few weeks in summer. And surprisingly good they are too, full of flavour even in the off-season, and a very welcome alternative to imports.

But there’s nothing to beat the beautiful berries in their natural season, and it’s lovely to see them on sale at roadsides all around the East and South-East.

The sunny South-East – and Wexford in particular – is the place to be when it comes to strawberry growing, and all Ireland has been celebrating their little treasures recently at the annual Wexford Strawberry Fair Festival, which takes place each year at the Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy.

This year’s festival celebrated the 50th year of the Strawberry Fair - “Gathering Strawberry Queens from over the last 50 years”!

Early in the strawberry season simplest is best, and it’s wonderful to luxuriate in the sunny flavour of the luscious big berries, perhaps served with a hint of caster sugar and cream or good vanilla ice cream. Or try a sprinkling of orange juice and a light grinding of black pepper.

As the season goes on and the berries get smaller, chop them up and mix roughly with broken meringue and cream or yogurt.


Strawberry SundaeServes 4

450g Irish strawberries
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
1 x 500g carton of fromage frais

Wash and hull the strawberries, reserving two to decorate the glasses.

Put the redcurrant jam in a pan with 2 teaspoons of water and heat gently, stirring until the jam has dissolved.

Bring to the boil, stir in the remainder of the strawberries, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Layer this mixture with the fromage frais in individual glasses, finishing with fromage frais. 

Decorate with the reserved strawberries, sliced in half, and serve.



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