Strawberries keep longer when they are picked and handled correctly.
A smushed berry is a sad berry. Because they are a rather tender fruit, strawberries will bruise and discolor any time they are squeezed.
Always handle the strawberries gently, whether you are picking them, placing them in the container, or handling the filled containers.
The surest way to pick strawberries without bruising is to:
- Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.
- Pick only the berries that are fully red.
- Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion.
- With the stem broken about one-half inch from the berry, allow it to roll into the palm of your hand.
- Carefully place—don’t throw—the fruit into your containers. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Don’t overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.
- Remember that stacking strawberries more than 5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.
- Be careful that your feet and knees do not damage plants or fruit while picking.
Keeping Strawberries Fresh
Sooner is better than later when it comes to enjoying strawberries. If possible, eat strawberries within 2 days of bringing them home.
To keep berries fresh for as long as possible:
- Store them in the refrigerator.
- Choose a storage container that allows airflow.
- Spread them out so that the berries are not all on top of each other (if your fridge space allows).
- Wash the berries right before you plan to eat them. Washing berries and then storing them in the fridge can lead to mold, and nobody wants that!
Can I eat the strawberry tops?
Yes! The entire strawberry is edible: leaves, stem, and all. The green part may not be the tastiest, but that doesn’t mean you should toss those tops! Use strawberry tops to infuse water, make kombucha, or add them to a healthy smoothie.
The best strawberries for freezing are dark red, firm, and fully ripe.
- Remove stem and caps.
- Wash and drain the berries carefully. Do not soak in water, or the strawberry will lose flavor and nutrients. Do not add sugar.
- Freeze strawberries individually in a single layer on cookie sheets.
- After they’re completely frozen (about 24 hours), place into freezer containers or freezer bags.