Here is everything you need to know about how to buy, store and cook with fresh strawberries!
Is there anything better than a sweet and aromatic bowl of fresh local strawberries?
They are one of my favorites, and just in case they are high on your list too, I wanted to share some tips on the best way to buy, store, prep and of course cook with this delicious healthy summer fruit.
What Are Strawberries?
Strawberries are a small sweet fruit that is actually part of the rose family!
They are one of the first fruits to ripen each year, and while California and Florida grow the vast majority of strawberries in the US, you can find locally grown strawberries almost everywhere during the months of May and June.
Because local strawberries tend to be fresher, they are often sweeter and more aromatic than shipped strawberries, so go support your local farm market during strawberry season!
They are high in fiber and potassium, and they actually have more Vitamin C in them than oranges!
And (shhhh) they aren’t actually a berry. They are an aggregate fruit, and the only one that has its seeds (over 200 per berry!) on the outside. And most importantly, they are scrumptious!
Tips for buying Strawberries (or Picking your own!)
The very best way to pick out and buy strawberries is at your local farm market or “pick your own” place during the height of strawberry season, but the basic things to look for are the same whether you buy them locally or in your supermarket. Here’s what you want to look for!
First, a bright deep red color over the whole strawberry. Strawberries don’t keep ripening once they are picked, and the redder the strawberry, the more flavor it will have.
Pink or yellow colored strawberries tend to be more bitter tasting, so go for all the red you can find!
A nice green stem. If the stems look dried or wilted, that means the strawberry is a little, well, elderly.
A lovely strawberry aroma. That’s right, don’t be shy about giving that carton of strawberries a good sniff. If strawberries don’t smell sweetly like strawberries, they won’t taste as vibrant either.
Check the top and the bottom of the container just to make sure you don’t spot any mushy, unripe or (worst of all) moldy strawberries. If they check all these boxes you are good to go!
The Best Way To Store Fresh Strawberries
Okay, you have scored your carton or basket of sweet red strawberries…now what? There are three important things to remember to keep those berries as fresh as possible.
Don’t wash them until you are ready to eat or cook with them. There is nothing to make a good strawberry go bad like moisture, and no matter how vigilantly you dry them off, they will still be a little damp.
The time to give them their bath (which you should definitely do) is right before you eat them. Run cold water over them for about 15 seconds or so, using a strainer or your hands, and making sure you get all the berries, then pat them off gently with a clean cloth or a paper towel.
Store them in a container that has some breathing room. If your strawberries come in one of those cardboard containers with the holes in the side, that’s perfect.
Otherwise put them in a strainer or some other container that lets the air circulate.
Keep them in the fridge. You can display them on your counter for a day or so (I can’t resist doing that myself) but then into the fridge they go, especially if you plan on using them over the course of a few days.
How to prepare fresh strawberries for Cooking (or just for Eating!)
One of my favorite ways to prep strawberries is just to hold them by the stem and eat them, but there are times when you are going to want to cut out the stem and the little core (this is called hulling the strawberries) and/or slice them.
After they have their quick cold water bath, you have two good choices for hulling those strawberries. You can take a small paring knife and simply run it around the edge of the stem, pressing down just a little to get some of the more fibrous center out.
OR, you can use my favorite way to hull strawberries, which is with a straw. Take a plastic (or even better, a reusable metal) straw, poke it into the very bottom of the strawberry and push up towards the stem.
The whole hull and stem will pop right out, and you will have preserved every speck of juicy red strawberry goodness.
Once your berries are hulled, you can slice or halve or quarter them any old way you please.
What are the best recipes for Fresh strawberries?
There are so many, including just slicing them up and sprinkling them on a bowl of vanilla ice cream! But below are a few of my very faves…I hope you love them as much as we do!
If you have any other strawberry tips or tricks, please share them in the comments! And in the meantime, Happy Strawberry Season!