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!
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!
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?
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.
- 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
- Wash your strawberries, remove and discard the green stalks.
- Slice each strawberry lengthways, about ½ cm thick.
- Butter your slices of bread and arrange three slices each on two plates.
- Place your strawberries on the buttered bread without them overlapping.
- Lightly season with crushed black peppercorns and then sprinkle the castor sugar over the top.
- Serve immediately as a snack or a light lunch.
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.
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…