Strawberries have the most vitamin C of the berry family. Strawberries have been known since the time of the Greeks and Romans and cultivation of strawberries began in 1624. Commercial growing in America began about 1800 on the east coast of the United States. Strawberries moved west with the pioneers and now there are more than seventy varieties of strawberries, many of which are grown in California and Florida. This familiar fruit is usually available fresh year round with a peak from April to July.
They are at their peak from spring to midsummer, are plump, red, juicy, and intensely sweet when ripe. Select unbruised, slightly soft berries with a deep color and an inviting fragrance. Store unwashed and loosely covered in a single layer on a tray or platter lined with paper towels in the refrigerator for a few days. Substitute berries frozen without syrup when fresh are not available.
Strawberries should be a bright shade of red and the caps on the berries should be green and fresh looking. Berries that are green or yellow are unripe and will taste sour.
After purchasing strawberries, check the fruit and toss out any moldy or deformed berries. Immediately eat the overripe berries within 24 hours. Return the other berries back to the original container or they should be arranged unwashed in a shallow pan lined with paper towels, and washed just prior to use. The berries may be topped with a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Plastic wrap the entire container. This will ensure the fruit retains its freshness, but generally berries should be eaten within one week.
- Whole frozen strawberries destined for your baked goods should be used frozen. Gently fold into pies, cakes and muffins just prior to use.
- Store whole frozen strawberries in their unopened or tightly resealed packages in your freezer. If strawberries are to be served alone, thaw until they are pliable and serve partially frozen. Add sugar to taste — it brings out both the flavor and the luscious juices.
- Berries from Fruits and Veggies Matter Fruit & Vegetable of the Month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public domain government resource—original source of recipe