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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
It’s Strawberry Season but Don’t Blink!
photo: Emily Hamilton Laux

It’s Strawberry Season but Don’t Blink!

above photo: Emily Hamilton Laux

by Katy Morris

Forgive the sense of urgency but we suggest you snatch up some succulent strawberries as quickly as possible. The best ones aren’t playing hard to get, they really are!

Here in CT, strawberry season happens so quickly that if you don’t get out to the fields over a two-three week period (and it could be shorter) you’ll miss your opportunity to pick your own. (see link below to find farms with strawberry fields throughout the U. S.).

Strawberries are not berries? 

Believe it or not, technically defined, strawberries are not really berries (but pumpkins and avocadoes are!). A berry is produced from a single plant’s ovary and keeps its seeds on the inside, whereas seedy strawberries are a multi-ovary flower and show their seeds (hundreds on each one!) for the world to see.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

Where and when do they grow?

 

Although the majority of strawberries grown in the US come from California, each state actually grows them locally.  They can be found year round in markets but the prime time to get them is now! Did you know that the name of a strawberry plant is actually “fragaria” which is part of the rose family?

 

How do I choose the best ones?

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

 

As a general rule of thumb, the darker and richer in color, the riper they are. Their color depends on lots of different factors,though, including growing technique used and variety.  When shopping, avoid ones with white rings around their stem, which usually means they weren’t picked at their peak.

 

Choose the ruby red ones that are smaller in size as those tend to have a more concentrated, stronger flavor. When eyeing them at your local market, of course ask the farmer which ones they suggest, but usually the vibrant, firm ones that aren’t bleeding are your best bets.

Photo: Emily Hamilton Laux
Photo: Emily Hamilton Laux

 

Don’t worry about shape. Also, you’ll know you’ve chosen well when you slice them open and they’re the same color red on the inside as on the outside.

 

What’s the best way to prep and store them?

 

Only wash them when you are ready to use or eat them. Strawberries are sponge-like in that they’ll soak up the water they’re washed with and once they do, they can get mushy pretty quickly.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

Your recently purchased carton of strawberries should be fine on your counter for a night or two maximum, but if you don’t want to use them for a couple days, pop ‘em in your fridge in a sealed container lined with paper towels (and for even longer storage, freeze them after hulling in a tightly closed ziplock bag).

 

When ready, just wash with cold water in a large colander and gently pat dry.

 

Hulling is your next step, which really just means removing their greens. You want to keep as much of the red flesh as possible, so the simplest technique to use is to gently put the tip of a sharp knife at the very base of the top and then slowly turn the strawberry.  The greens should come right off.

 

By the way, did you know that the greens are actually edible? Sure, we don’t use them regularly but when dried and prepared in things like tea, they can be super nutritional and help with digestion.

Photo: Emily Hamilton Laux
Photo: Emily Hamilton Laux

 

How should I use strawberries?

 

Let us count the ways: from summer salads and smoothies to dessert, jam or even just out-of-hand, the possibilities are endless.  And with their powerful cancer-fighting, vitamin-loaded, antioxidant qualities, we encourage you to use them a lot!

Check back in to find a great recipe for Classic Strawberry Shortcake on Thursday. It was so easy, that Liz has made it twice over the last two weeks.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven
Photo: Liz Rueven

Where should you get them this summer?

 

Your local farmers’ market is the place to get the freshest, locally grown strawberries. If you’d rather pick them yourself, like we did at Jones Family Farm, click here and you’ll find an indispensable resource for finding where to pick strawberries in your state.

photo: Emily Hamilton Laux
photo: Emily Hamilton Laux

 

 

What are your favorite ways to use strawberries? We would love to know if you simply eat them out of hand or if you have a favorite recipe. Tell us below in the comments section.

 

And watch for more recipes shares on Kosher Like Me’s facebook page here.  Are we friends there? Join us!

 

 

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