“Strawberries Rule!” say 94% of all American households… but some strawberries are better than other berries.
How to Choose the Perfect Strawberry:
Ripe delicious strawberries should be sweet and enticingly perfumed. Unlike many fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after harvesting. From the moment strawberries are picked you are running the race to eat them before their demise!
- Choose bright-red strawberries with dark green caps
- Plump but small. Large strawberries tend to taste watery. Giant strawberries are usually a disappointment.
- Strawberries with no smell are a bust. Don’t buy them!
- Buy organic — Most of us know by now that strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list which is a list of fruits and veggies that have high residual pesticide rates. We would love to say that we only purchase organic fruits and veggies, but that isn’t realistic for many (including us) on a tight budget. With strawberries it really makes a difference so we spend our dollars wisely and buy organic. For the freshest berries we head to the Farmer’s market.
Once you get the berries home they are best eaten at room temperature…the same day. If you can’t eat them the same day, then pop them unwashed, into a container in a single layer with a dry paper towel placed on the bottom and one on top. Allow strawberries to come to room temperature before serving for best flavor.
Strawberries ARE Wash & Dry!
Strawberries should always be rinsed and dried just before cutting. Ignore recipes that tell you that you should never wash strawberries… you can’t wash away their flavor! Place berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Spread them out to dry on paper towels with plenty of space between them to dry. This can be done up to 3 hours before you plan to use them.
One of the simplest quick desserts is to macerate fresh strawberries — sprinkle the berries with a little sugar or honey to bring out their natural sweetness and set them aside for a couple of minutes to allow them to release their natural juices. (Watch the video to see the magic!) Here are a couple additions to try if you want to get a little more creative:
- A squeeze of lemon or orange juice
- Teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar
- A drizzle of rose water or a couple of drops of violet essence
- Splash of red wine or your favorite liqueur
- A couple lemon verbena leaves, basil, or mint chiffonade
Just remember to add a tiny bit at a time and taste — you’re looking to enhance and add complexity NOT loose the natural flavor.
Strawberries Aren’t Just For Shortcakes Anymore…
While we never get tired of eating fresh berries picked warm from the garden we sometimes want a little something different. One of our new favorite techniques to prepare strawberries is to roast them! Roasting is easy and turns the strawberries into a wonderful jammy consistency. It’s a great way to use strawberries when you have too many (they hold up in the fridge much better than fresh berries.) Roasting also improves their flavor if the strawberries are less than perfect. For one of our favorite go to recipes, check out Zoë François’ lovely blog: http://www.zoebakes.com The Best Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream – roasting is the secret.