Selecting & Storing Strawberries
Enjoying strawberries starts with selecting the best ones. California strawberries are fully ripe at the time they are picked and do not continue to ripen after harvesting. Here are a few tips on how to select and store strawberries to make your berries last as long as possible.
Select: Choose strawberries that have a bright red color, a natural shine, and fresh-looking green caps.
Store: Strawberries should always be refrigerated and kept dry until just before serving.
Wash: With green stems still intact, rinse berries under cool water and gently blot dry.
Prep: Remove the green caps from the berries with a light twist or with the point of a knife.
Enjoying Fresh Strawberries
It’s great to stock up on California strawberries when they’re in peak season from April to August. However, because strawberries are best enjoyed within a few days, you may need some ideas on how to use them.
There are so many great recipes that call for fresh strawberries, from salads, to salsas, to breakfast favorites. Here are a few recipes for fresh strawberries:
If you stock up and don’t think you’ll get to use all of the fresh strawberries in time, you can preserve them in jam or freeze the strawberries on their own.
If you’re not into canning, you can make a quick freezer jam. Freezer jam doesn’t require as much sugar as canning or any special equipment. It’s easy to make and once defrosted, freezer jam can be refrigerated for up to a month.
To make a strawberry freezer jam, simply:
- Combine 2 cups of chopped strawberries with 4 cups of sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Boil ¾ cup of water with 1 packet of dry pectin. Then pour it over the sweetened strawberries and mix.
- Pour the jam into freezer-ready containers, leaving some space at the top. Let cool before sealing; then allow the containers to settle at room temperature for 24 hours before freezing.
If you would like to use whole strawberries several months later in smoothies, margaritas, pies, or sauces, watch a video on how to freeze strawberries and follow these simple steps:
- After rinsing, gently blot the strawberries dry.
- Slice the stems off the top of the berries.
- Place strawberries cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze uncovered for 24 hours.
- Transfer strawberries to a freezer bag or container and return to the freezer.
Knowing how you can enjoy fruits like strawberries beyond their fresh shelf-life may provide some peace of mind that food won’t get wasted. It’s also a nice surprise to find strawberries hiding in your freezer long after peak season has ended; it can brighten your mood, sweeten a meal, and add some much needed vitamin C in fall and winter!