If you’ve ever watched Jeopardy, most likely you know that the strawberry is the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside. So, really, not even technically a berry.
It’s actually native to Brittany, France where it has been elevated to aphrodisiac status, giving it a romantic appeal and desirability, which we think it deserves regardless of its actual efficacy in facilitating love.
Afterall, it’s sweet, juicy, delicious, low in calories and so very versatile. And, not expensive either. Kind of a win-win all the way around.
Strawberries also contain high levels of potassium, which has been shown to increase blood and oxygen flow to the muscles. Surely a bowl of strawberries before the volleyball tournament is in order. They are also high in vitamins C, B6, K, fiber, folic acid and amino acids, so certainly pack a punch.
What else? Strawberries are actually part of the rose family and smell as sweet as they taste. Picking strawberries is doubly exciting for this reason alone.
Finally, they have only 49 calories per cup, so make a great dessert with just a bit of yogurt or cream and totally bring out the best in pound cake, ice cream and pastries!
Getting the Long Straw, the Best of the Berries
It is typical to choose your berries by color: the redder the better, but this is not altogether true. Strawberries get darker after picking them, but not necessarily sweeter. The best thing is to smell the berries, especially when you are shopping at a farmer’s market. If they smell strong and sweet, you are good to go. Otherwise, if the berries are packaged, stick with the color method.
Note that although we carry strawberries year round, thanks to our international growing partners, they are still best when they’re in season locally, from late April to August in the Northern Hemisphere. This is when to stock up!
Storing & Eating
If you’ve found upon getting home that there are a couple bruised or moldy berries in the package, shun them immediately. In this case, one bad apple will totally spoil the whole bunch. This is true of berries in general.
And don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them. The water makes them much more prone to mold and mush. Nobody likes a mushy berry.
You want to refrigerate your berries, uncovered, and then take them out at least 30 minutes or so before serving. Much like cheese (which also goes great with strawberries), their flavor increases at room temperature.
If you have unripe (green) berries, get this, you can pickle them! Oh so good on salads or made into a chutney. And, overripe berries (pre-mold) make excellent jam.
Finally, if you went totally crazy and have a wealth of berries (which often happens when you go picking), you can freeze them. Slice off the top, chop them up, and lay on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Freeze until hard and then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Use them for smoothies, sauces, and even blender cocktails!
Hulling — Really?
Maybe we’re lazy, but hulling seems the least of our concerns when it comes to strawberries. Still, some recipes call for it. Don’t be intimidated. Just take your average drinking straw and push it up through the core of the berry. Boom. You can even do this while watching Wild Strawberries directed by Ingmar Bergman … just saying.
Got your strawberry game on? Try out some of these favorite recipes. You’ll be astounded at the berry’s vibrance and versatility … mmmmmm.