The wild strawberry fruit was mentioned as far back as ancient Roman where literature referenced its medicinal use. The cultivated strawberry that we know and love today, also known as the garden strawberry, was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s.
Recently, China surpassed the United States, now number two, as the world’s largest producer of strawberries. In this country, California, Florida, and Oregon are the largest strawberry growers.
Since this sweet, red berry is readily available in stores all year and is one of the most well-known and common fruits, it is easy to overlook how to pick the best berries as well as how to store them for maximum flavor and life. We can help with that.
- Shop with your nose. Choose berries that are fragrant and plump, firm, bright, with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps.
- Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose strawberries that have been picked fully ripened.
- Leave the caps (stems) on the strawberries until ready to eat or use in your recipes.
- Do not wash the strawberries until you’re ready to eat or use them. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to storing strawberries.
- Fresh whole strawberries will last about 5-7 days when stored, uncovered, in the refrigerator while fresh cut strawberries will last about 1-3 in the fridge.
- Fresh strawberries can be frozen although thawing does change the color and texture slightly, so frozen berries are best used in jams, milkshakes, smoothies and any recipes where less firm berries are suitable.
- To prep for freezing, wash and drain the fruit carefully, then remove the stems and caps. Dry berries thoroughly on towels in a single layer.
- For whole, unsweetened berries, first freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they’re solid, place in freezer containers or bags. Try to remove as much air as possible by completely filling containers or pressing extra air out of bags before sealing to avoid freezer burn.
Whether fresh or frozen, these tasty gems are the perfect ingredient to add delicious sweetness to any recipe using strawberries. Here are five yummy strawberry recipes that will inspire you this season!
Easy Strawberry-Almond Tarts