Summer strawberries take on new levels of mouth-watering flavors when left to ferment in beeswax for a week.
Last summer I fermented cherries in beeswax for a fun experiment, this year I’ve been tinkering around with strawberries. And it’s been a delicious endeavor. Hands down, these are my favorite. During the fermentation process, the strawberry flavor intensifies and becomes exaggerated without becoming overly sweet. Fermented strawberries are perfect summer flavor bombs that zuuhh up simple dishes.
When picking out strawberries to ferment, look for organic ones that have a long(ish) stem attached.
You’ll pick off the leaves, leaving only the stem for dipping. I buy a pint of strawberries from the market and then pick through to find the best ones that have a long stem, and have no cuts, or bruises. The skin of the strawberry should be completely intact, otherwise, you’ll risk the strawberry rotting instead of being preserved by fermentation.
Dipping the strawberries in a yogurt and water mixture gives them a boost of good cultures that will help drive the fermentation process.
Fruits and vegetables naturally contain the microbes that help drive the anaerobic fermentation process, but dipping the berries into yogurt helps give an extra boost. If you have some whey left over from making yogurt, you can use the whey instead.
The strawberries should look fresh and firm when you cut through the wax.
If they look dull, mushy, or shriveled, toss them. You might notice some bubbles or juice escaping when you first cut into the wax, this is normal. Not every strawberry is a winner in my batches, I accept the losses and devour the wins. The warmer the temperature during their fermentation, the more risk you have for the strawberries to ferment too quickly and burst or break the wax. Go for cool and slow for best flavor and higher success rates.
Fermented Strawberries in Beeswax
- 12 organic strawberries, with the stem on
- 1 Cup water
- 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt (make sure the label says it contains live cultures)
- 500 Grams beeswax (find it at your farmers market, or some health food stores)
- Bowl of ice water
- Gently wash the strawberries under running water, making sure to remove all dirt and sand. Pat dry in a clean kitchen towel
- Set up a rimmed baking rack sheet with a wire rack. This will be used as a drying station for the berries after they have been dipped in the yogurt & water mixture.
- Mix the yogurt and water together in a coffee mug until no clumps remain.
- Carefully remove the leaves from the strawberries, trying not to break any of strawberry's skin. This is easiest when the berries are good and ripe. Make sure to leave the stem intact, this will be important when you dip the berry into the hot wax!
- Dip each berry into the yogurt and water mixture completely. Let dry on the wire baking rack. Place in the fridge to let dry, this may take anywhere between a few minutes and a couple of hours depending on the humidity of the fridge.
- When the berries are completely dry, heat up the beeswax in a small saucepot on the stove on low heat. Keep an eye on the wax, it should only take a few minutes to melt completely. Remove from heat.
- Set up your wax dipping station. I like to have the hot wax sitting on a trivet next to a bowl of ice water. I keep the strawberries next to me. Begin by holding the strawberry by the stem, and dipping into the hot wax for only a second or two. Remove, let the wax drip for another second, and then dip into the ice water to harden the wax. Repeat for each berry 10x, making sure the entire berry has a thick coating of wax that goes all the way up to the stem.
- The wax will most likely start to cool down and become harder to work with as you go along. Simply reheat the wax on the stove and continue again.
- After all the berries have been encased in wax, double-check that no cracks have developed since cooling. If a crack has occurred, give the berry a few more dips into the wax.
- Allow the strawberries to ferment in a cool place out of direct sunlight. The warmer the spot, the quicker the strawberries will ferment and if they ferment too quickly, they are more likely to split and break open. Check every day, and remove any berries that have split the wax.
- After 5 days, begin to check the berries for doneness. I personally love them at 7 days, they are packed with flavor, but not alcoholic-y or strong yet.
- The strawberries should look ripe and firm. If any of the berries look soft, shriveled, or mushy, toss them. Serve the fermented berries with ice cream, yogurt or just on their own!