How to Store Your Freshly Picked Strawberries
Sunshine, seaside, family…it must be the season for strawberries..! The time to buy strawberries is now..! And if you’re serious about food, there’s a lot to be said for buying local ingredients direct from the grower.
This season there’s a glut of delicious, juicy red berries in our paddocks and they’re ripe for the picking. Pop into Handasyde’s Strawberry Farm Cafe and ask for an empty strawberry picking box. One of our lovely team will gladly show you to the nearby paddock where you can pick strawberries to your heart’s content when they’re in season.
If picking fruit is not your cup of tea, simply collect a bountiful load of strawberries from our cafe coolers. Depending on what’s in stock, we offer a variety of options to suit your budget and culinary needs. Choose from different sized punnets of conventional or certified organic strawberries.
Are you a well-seasoned home producer of preserves? Or do you fancy trying to make homemade Jam..? A great option is to purchase a bulk box of seconds – just as juicy as our commercial punnets, but a total bargain when it comes to making preserves and cooking up a storm with strawberry-loaded recipes.
So, once you’ve hoarded your load of Handasyde’s Strawberries…how do you keep them fresher for longer in your home? Here are a few tried and tested methods to consider.
Fridge, Freeze or Preserve..?
Method One: Storing in the Fridge
This might seem a little obvious, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.There are many approaches to storing fresh berries in the fridge – ranging from simply popping your newly bought punnet on the fridge shelf (good if you’re going to eat them all up within about three days), to mixing berries with a vinegar solution or rinsing them before refrigeration.
A great way to keep your strawberries fresh is to use a simple mason jar. If you don’t have any mason jars to hand, an empty washed glass jar will do the trick. Sort through your strawberries as you place them into the jar and remove any overripe fruits. There’s noneed to wash the strawberries or cut into them at this stage. Be careful not to overload the jar – simply place each strawberry gently on top of the next, then seal in their freshness by screwing on the lid. This should help keep your Strawberries looking and tasting great for up to a week. Glass jars are a wonderful device with which to keep food fresh, visible and separate from other food items in your fridge. Give it a go with your next punnet..!
Pros: Easy nutritious fresh snacks straight from the fridge
Cons: Needs to be eaten within a week
Method Two: Freezing Your Strawberries
Yes, you can freeze your own strawberries..! This means that you can cook with them for months to come – a particularly lovely prospect if you’ve made memories picking them yourself from our paddocks. Freezing isn’t time consuming, but there is a bit of a process involved to encourage your strawberries freeze nicely.
- Rinse your Strawberries in cold water. It may help to use a colander.
- Dry your strawberries using a tea towel. Handle the strawberries with care and avoid bruising them while patting away all moisture.
- Remove stem and leaves. You can use either a paring knife or a special tool such as a ‘huller’ to undertake this task. Once you get in the flow this step can be done quickly.
- Arrange the strawberries on a flat tray, and place in the freezer.
- Once the strawberries are frozen (approximately one hour), pour the frozen strawberries into thick freezer bags or freezable containers then arrange into your freezer wherever suits you. Before you stow the strawberries away, be sure to label them with the date that they entered the freezer. A permanent marker (on the container!) performs this task well.
This freezer method can keep strawberries nicely for up to two months. You’ll find that the texture of the strawberries is different once they’re thawed out. This is totally normal – the freezing process breaks down the strawberry’s cell walls and so the consistency of a thawed out frozen strawberry is very soft and juicy. This makes frozen strawberries a choice ingredient for smoothies, sauces, desserts or for baking into cakes. Wherever you want some authentic strawberry flavour without needing to display its form, you can use thawed out frozen strawberries. A very handy item to have in the freezer..!
Pros: Preserves flavour and juiciness whilst priming it for saucy recipes
Cons: After freezing, these strawberries are not quite the same fruit you once knew.
Method Three: Making Preserves
Strawberries make an undeniably sensational snack, but there’s so much more to be done with these ruby red nuggets of nutritious deliciousness. Wherever there is a glut of fresh fruit, such as a bumper box of strawberries, the word ‘jam’ is not far away..!
If you’ve never made jam before, don’t fret – there’s never been a better time to. learn to make it. The making of preserves is a good value traditional skill that you can apply to many different fruits and vegetables and enjoy for generations to come. Indeed jams, chutneys and sauces are fun to make, long lasting and there are so many creative possibilities when using this technique to store your locally produced fruit and vegetables. A quick search on the internet or a rummage through your recipe books will soon reveal the ingredients for success with jam making.
Pros: Delicious, creative, long-lasting, giftable
Cons: Takes more time, preparation and cleaning.
So there you have it…a little lowdown on three core methods of storing strawberries. We hope you’ve enjoyed this write-up and that it helps you to savour the sensational taste of Summer for longer. See you soon at Handasyde’s Strawberry Farm!