Season for Strawberries April - July
Come Spring, and strawberries are a welcome reprise from citrus (not that we don't love a good orange!). Paired with champagne or chocolate, this is arguably the sexiest, most alluring fruit. It's no surprise strawberries hail from the rose family. The bright red flesh and tiny, delicate seeds make a strawberry a strawberry - even though there are some 600 varieties. Unfortunately, some of the best strawberries will likely never cross our lips as they don't fare well at all in transport (unless you grow your own!). And no artificial strawberry flavoring comes close to the aroma and natural flavor of a fine, organic and fresh strawberry.
How to Buy and Store Strawberries
As far as strawberries go, select your berries close to when you intend to consume them (like the same day) as they are highly perishable, and opt for those of small to medium size, for they will have more concentrated flavor. Choose those that are firm and plump with a deep, uniform crimson hue and attached caps that look alive and healthy. Avoid berries with any signs of mold, and know that patches of white or green are signs your berries are unripe and won't be at their most delicious.
You're strawberries will taste their best at room temperature, but if you must store them, start by getting rid of any damaged berries that will likely spoil the bunch, and place the rest in the refrigerator where you should use them within a day or two.
How to Cook Strawberries
Use these tips to maximize your strawberry-eating experience:
- Delay washing your berries until you're just about to eat them.
- Wash with their caps and stems still attached to keep the water from affecting their texture and flavor, in a bad way.
- Pinch of the caps with your fingertips, or use a paring knife - to garner the most fruit for your buck
Strawberries add their color and flavor to whatever they touch. Sure, we all love when our fruit salads have a heaping dose of strawberries, but you can think outside the box in this one. Serve them with freshly ground black pepper or toss them with good-quality aged balsamic vinegar or make our Organic Strawberry Rose Geranium Ice Cream Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. Use them as a gorgeous topping for cupcakes and waffles - and more!
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Owing to its scarlet hues, the anthocyanins in strawberries serve as potent antioxidants to help maintain the integrity of our cells. This luscious berrie's unique phenol content make them a heart-protective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory fruit - all rolled into one symbol of the heart. A study showed strawberries at the top of a list of foods most linked to lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of over 1,000 elderly people. Those eating the most strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer compared to those eating few or no strawberries.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Strawberries
This is a fruit not to be skimped on in its organic, fresh form. Strawberries rank extremely high on the Environmental Working Group's list of produce carrying the most pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Owing to the perishable nature, they can be saturated with chemicals. Currently more than 75 such chemicals are approved for use on strawberries by the US government, and many of them can't be washed off the berry's surface. In addition to always making the organic splurge on strawberries, keep in mind that the health-promoting anthocyanins are found in fresh and frozen berries, but not in its processed form.