Health & Nutrition
Selection, Storage & Handling
HOW TO PICK ‘EM JUST RIPE!
First, always choose locally grown strawberries during Louisiana’s harvesting season, which typically runs from February to May.
Next, look for bright red berries with fresh, green caps. If a strawberry is missing its cap, it’s also missing most of its vitamin C. When a cap is torn, the berry releases ascorbic acid oxidase, a chemical that destroys vitamin C.
Then, visually check each package to make sure there are no signs of mold growth. If one berry is molded, mold spores will have traveled throughout the entire package.
Choose Correct Quantity
Lastly, make sure you buy the right amount. When purchasing strawberries by the pound, one-and-a-half pounds equals one quart. This will yield about four cups of sliced strawberries. And a pint box yields about 1 cup of purée. The size of the strawberry is not important. All strawberries, large or small, are equally sweet and juicy.
KEEPING A FRESH STASH
Storing for Snacking
Careful storage of strawberries will maintain their flavor, color and texture. Just remember these three rules to keep your strawberries fresh!
Remove Damaged Berries
First, sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible to use in sauces, purées or jams.
Second, place the berries in well-ventilated containers or a shallow bowl and store them in the refrigerator. The best temperature for preserving strawberries is between 32 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit because they mold quickly at room temperature. Fresh strawberries are high in moisture, so store uncovered or loosely covered.
Remove Leafy Top
Third, hull strawberries and gently rinse them right before serving. Keeping stems on until you’re ready to eat them will prolong shelf life and their vitamin C content!
If you don’t plan to use strawberries within a few days, the best option for longer-term storage is freezing them. Freezing strawberries is one of the best ways to preserve their flavor and juiciness. Here are a few ways you can save your Louisiana strawberries to enjoy year-round!
Fill freezer containers with prepared, sliced, or washed and dried berries to within 1/2” of the top. Combine 4 cups of cold water with 1 tbsp. of lemon or lime juice and pour over berries before freezing. Seal, label, and date.
With Sugar Syrup
Fill freezer containers with prepared berries to within 1/2” of the top. Combine 4 cups of cold water with 4 cups of sugar. Then, stir to dissolve. Pour the mixture over the berries. Seal, label, and date. Allow 1-1/2 cups of prepared fruit and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of syrup per 1-pint container.
Dry Pack, Sweetened
Toss together 3/4 of a cup of sugar with 4 cups of prepared berries. Let stand until juice forms and sugar is almost dissolved. Pack in freezer containers and leave 1/2” of headspace. Seal, label, and date.
Individual Quick Freezing
For long term storage of individual berries, individual quick freezing is recommended. This method minimizes the “mushiness” associated with freezing berries.
First, choose firm, ripe berries and wash them in ice. Next, place them on flat trays in a single layer and put the tray into the coldest part of the freezer.
When frozen, store in quart or pint containers or place in heavy freezer bags, tightly sealed. If freezer bags are used, try to suck out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn. Seal, label, and date.
These berries can be used individually, if desired, for special desserts, on cereals or as ice cubes in fancy drinks.