Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Choose & Store Ripe Strawberries



Last summer, my family spent seven weeks in France.  While we were there, we ate a number of meals from farmer's markets that lined the rivers.  They had wonderful, fresh produce that we thoroughly enjoyed, but the most delicious thing we ate from the markets were the strawberries.  They were so ripe, juicy and definitely the best strawberries I have ever tasted.  

My parents came over for a visit while we were there, and my mom commented that she had never had a strawberry that was so red all the way through.  They were heaven on earth.  

Due to the way large growing operations grow, manage and pick strawberries, you probably won't find such fresh and luscious strawberries at your local large chain grocery store. Instead, head to your local farmer's market, farm or produce stand to find the ripest, juiciest berries this summer.

Regardless of where you shop for berries, here are my best tips for choosing the most delicious, juicy strawberries, and storing them so they stay fresh as long as possible.  



Buying the Best: 

  • Always purchase your strawberries in season.  Strawberries are best in the spring and summertime (April through August).  If you can't buy them in season, buy frozen strawberries, because they were picked when the berries were ripe and then frozen immediately.  
  • Avoid boxes where the berries have white or dark red patches.  The best berries will be brilliantly red.  Try to find a box with the most red berries possible.  
  • Check for mold.  Any box with the faintest hint of white, fuzzy mold anywhere should be skipped.  Mold spreads quickly through the berries, and you will end up with inedible polar bear strawberries in a day or two.  Say no to fuzzy strawberries. 
  • Try to purchase local.  The strawberries that I bought in France had been picked just a day or two before I ate them.  Most farmer's market vendors or fruit stands pick their fruit the day before or the same morning that they sell them to you - and your chances for getting life-changing strawberries increases because they don't have to pick them before the strawberries are ripe and then transport them across the country in a truck (like the grocery store).  Purchasing locally also helps support your local economy.  
  • Avoid strawberries with dark spots.  Dark or brown spots indicate that the berries are rotting.  Definitely not delicious.  

Proper Storage:

  • Don't wash your strawberries until right before you eat them.  
  • If you are going to eat your strawberries the same day you bought them, leave them at room temperature, if you are going to eat them the next day, or a few days later, store them in the fridge.  
  • If any berries begin to mold, pull them out and discard them immediately.  
  • Store berries in the fridge in a plastic clamshell or plastic bag that is partially open.  You can also store them in a bowl lined with paper towels, separating the layers of strawberries with paper towels.
  • Eat them within a few days.  Even berries in the fridge won't last much longer than 3 or so days.  






About the Author:

Landen runs Measure and Whisk, a cooking blog with a focus on real food. She is a firm believer that quality is superior to quantity, and prefers small amounts of good food over large quantities of cheap food. Deeply disappointed in cheap bacon, she prefers to buy $6 bacon less frequently. Because of this, she typically cooks vegetarian meals for her family.    

Her blog also features photos of her baby, Fox, and suggestions on how to live an eco-friendly and minimalist life, both in and out of the kitchen. Follow her on Pinterest and Instagram for beautiful food photos and pictures of baby Fox.
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