Strawberry season is finally here and it’s going to be a great one this year! As one of this season’s most highly anticipated fruits, the excitement surrounding strawberries is well warranted. After all, vibrant red colors, succulent flavors and sweet juiciness is what strawberries are all about. With so many different ways to use them in recipes, from salads to desserts to garnishes, no dish is quite complete without these little red gems.
First, let’s get this little awkward fact out of the way: strawberries are not actually berries. Are you mind blown? Stay with us, we’re here for you. Strawberries are actually part of the rose family and are the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than the inside such as an apple or watermelon. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, strawberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, ranking third on a list of more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are they extremely tasty, they’re incredibly good for you! We’re sure you don’t need much convincing to try them.
What to look for: You’ll want to find strawberries with firm stems and fresh green caps. The berries should be plump and firm to the touch with a vibrant red finish. Any green or white-topped strawberries means that they are unripe and will not taste great. Also, avoid any soft, shriveled or mushy-looking berries.
Something you might not have known is that the smallest strawberries tend to yield the best flavors and have greatest intensity. The large ones usually contain more water and a slightly more diluted taste.
Storage and Prep: Strawberries can be stowed away in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Store them in a moisture-proof container and place them in single layers between paper towels. Do not wash them until you’re ready to use them, as coming into contact with water speeds up the rotting process. If you plan to keep them for longer than several days, you can freeze them overnight and keep them for up to six months.
To prepare the strawberries, simply place them in a large colander and give them a quick rinse under cool water. Pat them gently with paper towels and then you can either serve them whole or hull and slice them for different uses.
Uses and recipes: The beautiful thing about strawberries are how delicious they are when eaten on their own as part of a snack or dessert. They don’t need a whole lot of fancy prepping or flavoring and also work wonderfully in jams, cakes, pies, pancakes, toast and more. In fact, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Below are a few great recipe ideas from our kitchen.
Cheese and Strawberry Smorrebroad – Spread French-style bread or firm white bread with butter and cream cheese and add a thin slice of green bell pepper and large Organic Strawberries. Serve as appetizers or h’ordeuvres.
Strawberry-Cherimoya Smoothie – Blend together organic strawberries with cherimoya and organic tofu for a refreshing and nutritious morning drink.
Strawberry Crepes with Blood Orange Sauce – Add strawberries on top of a crepe filled with cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and rind and topped off with a warm blood orange sauce.
Strawberry Shortcake with Chocolate Sauce – Layer strawberries and whipped cream with sliced poundcake and drizzle with your choice of a dessert sauce.
What are your thoughts on strawberries? What are your favorite ways to have them them? We’d love to know!