It’s Strawberry Season In Fethiye! How Do You Eat Yours?

When is strawberry season in Fethiye? Well, right about now, as it happens. This is also the time of year for the sour foods where erik (unripe plums) start to make an appearance and çağla (unripe almonds) abound on the stalls of the markets around Fethiye – and it’s where trays, piled with plump juicy strawberries, add a vibrant contrast of colour to the bright greens and yellows of those unripe plums and courgette flowers. Spring is a time of colour – and it’s also the time to make a strawberry sandwich!

Fethiye Strawberries

Strawberry season in Fethiye

We’ve never written about strawberries (çilek) on the blog in the past because there was nothing much to say about them, really. If there is one fruit Britain does well – the best in the world? – it’s the strawberry. Whenever we saw strawberries on the markets here, that tempting sweet aroma was there, they looked the part…and then when we got them home, compared to the British strawberry, they were tasteless. Fethiye’s markets had much more exciting offerings than the strawberry for us.

But then… Enter The Fethiye Strawberry! Over the last few years, all that has changed because we have now been blessed with the Fethiye strawberry and the çilek (strawberry) is now very much on our seasonal shopping list. These days, in the suburbs of Fethiye, on land that hasn’t been built on, there are little strawberry farms.

Each year, when it’s time to harvest the strawberries, their stall, complete with huge banner, appears on Fethiye market and Çalış market (perhaps others in the area, too). The trays are laden with huge, juicy strawberries and they go fast. They’re sometimes slightly more expensive than other strawberries you might see on stalls but we’re all for shopping local and getting what you pay for, too. For us, the locally grown Fethiye strawberry is worth the extra kuruş!

Strawberries From Fethiye Market

The locally grown, freshly sliced strawberry – a definite springtime treat

Strawberry Nutrition

The strawberry is the food that says summer isn’t too far away; strawberries are sweet and juicy and cheery and, on top of all that, we don’t have to feel like eating them is a little naughty indulgence – unless they’re part of a big fat strawberry cake, that is. Anyway, forget those naughty strawberry recipes for the moment. Let’s look at the strawberry nutrition and make ourselves feel better, eh!

Strawberries are low in calories and also packed with vitamins and minerals that help us to remain healthy. Great! They’re a source of:

  • Vitamin C – which means healthier skin and a boost to the immune system. The strawberry is packed with Vitamin C.
  • Fiber – These fibers improve digestion and can help with weight loss.
  • Vitamin B9 – Important for the elderly and pregnant women
  • The minerals contained in the strawberry also help towards a healthy heart rate, blood pressure and in creating red blood cells.

Of course, there is lots more to strawberry nutrition than this basic list and, if you’re a bit of a nutrition or science bod, a quick search online will reveal tables and information galore. For us, however, now we know that we can not only enjoy strawberries but also reap the health benefits, too, this is a favourite strawberry recipe of ours just for its simplicity and celebration of this taste of early summer.

A Strawberry Sandwich Recipe – Summer On A Plate

After eating rather too many of our Fethiye strawberries as we walk back from the market, we always have to work out what to do with the rest of them when we got home. If you know us, you’ll know we’ve not really got a sweet tooth so strawberry cake recipes and the like don’t really do it for us. Strawberry season for us means a good, sweet colourful addition to our homemade muesli. And it also means strawberry sandwich time. What better way for savoury lovers to enjoy this sweet treat?

A Fethiye Strawberry Sandwich

Our strawberry sandwich recipe is definitely photogenic

This is adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (one of our heroes) recipe. He defies anyone not to enjoy a strawberry sandwich and, although we were non too convinced before we tried them, we were still curious. Well, you’re not gonna question a chef whose recipes you love, are you? And just look at the outcome. Fab! So let’s mix sweet with savoury and make our strawberry sandwich.

Strawberry Sandwich Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: British
Serves: 2
Prep time:
Total time:
 
If you haven't got a sweet tooth and are wondering how best to enjoy strawberry season, making a strawberry sandwich is far from a bad idea.
Ingredients
  • 15 large, soft, juicy strawberries
  • 6 small slices soft, fresh bread, crusty on the outside
  • 1 tbsp real, unsalted butter
  • 1 dessert spoonful castor sugar
  • Crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash your strawberries, remove and discard the green stalks.
  2. Slice each strawberry lengthways, about ½ cm thick.
  3. Butter your slices of bread and arrange three slices each on two plates.
  4. Place your strawberries on the buttered bread without them overlapping.
  5. Lightly season with crushed black peppercorns and then sprinkle the castor sugar over the top.
  6. Serve immediately as a snack or a light lunch.
Notes
As with all of our recipes, the calorie count for strawberry sandwich is meant as a rough guide and can vary depending on the type of bread you use and butter quantity.
You could find you have too may strawberries for your strawberry sandwich recipe. This is no disaster. You can always eat the rest of them, just as they are, of course.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 305

Quick and easy, isn’t it. And the result?

The flavour resembles a basic summer pudding, and, for more indulgence (we’ll definitely step it up and go for the indulgence at some point) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests removing the crusts from the bread, forgoing the butter and, instead, using a thick spreading of clotted cream and even more castor sugar.

Strawberry Sandwich Recipe – More Information

  • Strawberries are available in Fethiye at other times of the year, too, but springtime is the main season where you will see them in abundance on the markets.
  • The original recipe is supposed to be a closed sandwich but we wanted to make more of plate meal from it – and closed sandwiches wouldn’t have looked as pretty on the photo, would they!
  • This recipe is on page 122 of one of our favourite cookbooks, The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
  • The strawberry sandwich recipe is in our international recipes section of the blog. Don’t forget, we also have an ever-evolving page for Turkish recipes, too.

This Recipe Was Taken From The Book…

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Comments

  1. I’ve yet to find tasty strawberries here this year. Such a disappointment when they look so good.

  2. Love strawberries. Everyone here is waiting for the local ones, thinking they are the best in the world. More flavourful strawberries in the northern world, including Britain 🙂

  3. I enjoyed reading this most more than ever! You know what? I have a big bowl of çilek and çağla in my hands when reading it! Otherwise, I may strongly crave for it!
    Your çilekli ekmek sounds like a great food for breakfast! Castor sugar, cream and strawberries on bread, a perfect combo! YUM!

  4. @ BacktoBodrum: And the problem is, when they’re not sweet, they’re just not that pleasant really, are they. The Fethiye strawberries are doing the trick for us this year.

    @ Sophie: Ahhh, well I bet Norway strawberries are great. They seem to be sweeter in the more northern countries. 🙂

  5. @ Zerrin: Glad you liked the idea of the strawberries and bread together. Yes, it would make a good breakfast, too! 🙂 Not had any çağla yet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Much of commercial strawberries are harvested unripe and ripened with hormones, specifically talking ethylene, abscisic acid, so they have less sugar and aroma, bright red colour on the outside but white inside, and they stay firm for such a long time.

    The strawberries you bought are nothing but organic strawberries that let to ripen naturally. But still tasteless to me. If you fancy a real treat go for ereğli/osmanlı strawberry but those are very hard to find and probably will cost a lot. But you can always go for wild strawberries in near mountains. And if you have a guy in the local market, living in a nearby village, just ask for “dağ çileği” I am sure he will provide some for you.

    By the way it is very interesting to see a British view of Turkey for a Turkish guy living in London. I’ve never thought that we have such diverse cultures.

    Best regards.

    Atilla

  7. Anonymous says:

    Try fine grated fresh ginger over slices of strawberries, add a bit of lemon zest and lot of Rose Jam. Mix together. Great as is served in a plate or on a slice of pound cake that has been roasted in a bit of pure butter in a pan. Guzal!
    Suzanne from Montreal

  8. @ Atilla: Thanks a lot for your comment and all the information. appreciated. 🙂 We prefer most fruits and vegetables in Turkey. Strawberries are a rare exception – but the local Fethiye ones are the best we’ve had in Turkey. Not sure when the season is but we have seen the mountain strawberries on the pazar in the past. Any tips on what to do with them if we do buy some? 🙂

    How do you find London? 🙂

    @ Suzanne: Thanks for another recipe. All your suggestions are always little indulgent treats that we need to try sometime. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    If I had some wild strawberries or anything with such a rich aroma I would definitely go with jam. I know you don’t have a sweet tooth but nothing can beat strawberry jam with butter on a toasted bread and some hot tea.

    If you wonder how to make Turkish style jam here is my recipe.

    Find half kilo of caustic lime add 5-6 litres of water and wait overnight. Next day filter water into a container, and put your fruits into that water and again wait overnight. Next day wash the fruits couple of times. Add enough sugar and when it starts to simmer ad a few drops of lemon juice. You can use same recipe for any fruit. First step will give a crunch texture and glittery look.

    And London is bloody cold as usual.

    Atilla

  10. @ Atilla: Ha ha, no we don’t have a sweet tooth…but we do like to have jam with our breakfast. Thanks for the recipe. Hmmm, thought London might be cold, somehow! 😉

  11. Thanks for this post! bought some strawberries at the market today because I remembered reading it- they are so delicious! I haven’t been in the UK when they have been in season for about 10 years, so theses are the best I’ve had in the last decade!

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