Strawberry season is underway and we can’t get enough! Last year we discovered Holland Bottom Farm…a family owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm in Cabot, Arkansas, that hands-down has the best fresh strawberries I have ever tasted. Their website advertises the sweetest strawberries in the state, and they aren’t lying!
If you follow Holland Bottom Farm on social media you’ll notice that strawberry lovers from all over the state make the trek to Cabot in hopes of getting dibs on some of the famous berries, but often the supply runs out before the demand is met. As a result, vehicles will start arriving before the farm opens up and lines start forming an hour or so in advance. Last spring, I did the same. But, boy was it worth the wait!
Here we are at strawberry season again and I have hopes of getting more than I did last year so we can enjoy them as long as possible. I’ve been researching the best way to store, preserve and enjoy fresh strawberries so I can make the most of the short harvesting season. Below are five helpful tips I’ve learned about getting the most out of my fresh strawberry bounty. I hope you find them helpful!
If you have any tips or tricks to share, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to comment below.
1. When and How to Wash Strawberries
Some swear by soaking strawberries in vinegar and water before eating, but did you know that strawberries are extremely porous? Soaking the berries will dilute their natural sweetness and result in a mild flavored fruit.
“Strawberries are frighteningly like sponges—they tend to soak up as much water as they can get into contact with. The primary rule about washing strawberries is simple: wash strawberries when, and only when, you’re ready to eat or cook with them,” says Molly Watson of The Spruce Eats.
When you’re ready to eat the fresh strawberries, place them in a colander and rinse them thoroughly, but quickly, with cold water. Place them on a dry, clean dish towel and pat them dry.
2. Where to Buy Fresh Strawberries
Local farmers markets, orchards and berry farms are a great place to find the best strawberries! Grocery store berries are usually picked and allowed to ripen off the plant. Most locally sourced berries are allowed to ripen on the plant before being picked. Another plus for purchasing berries locally is that you will know if pesticides were used on your berries and if they were grown organically. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when buying strawberries! Make sure you know what you’re consuming and how it was grown.
3. How to Cut Strawberries
It’s a common practice to cut the cap and tip off of strawberries before using them, but doing so causes you to miss out on the most flavorful part of the ruby berry. Did you know that the tip of the strawberry contains the most flavor? Gravity is a the reason behind the flavorful tip, according to Taste of Home.
“As the ripening berry hangs by the cap on its stem, gravity pulls naturally occurring sugars down into the tip. This makes the strawberry tip the sweetest, choicest part,” says Taste of Home.
The site also suggests cutting the strawberries vertically from cap to tip before freezing or eating so that each bite has some of the sweetest part.
4. How to Freeze Strawberries
Unfortunately, fresh strawberries have a minimal shelf life. Strawberries picked at the peak of ripeness may last only a day or two at room temp, and up to 5 days if stored in the refrigerator. Thankfully I have a house full of strawberry lovers and we rarely have berries go to waste. But, when we have an abundance of strawberries on hand I enjoy using some for desserts, but make sure I put plenty in the freezer to make into jam or smoothies.
One of the best tips I’ve ever been told about freezing strawberries came from my sweet friend, the Jelly Queen herself, Donna Collins. Donna is an award-winning jelly connoisseur and owner of a Dallas-area-based jelly shop that is too adorable for words!
When I started making jams and jellies during strawberry season last year, Donna told me her secret to getting the most flavor out of the berries and guaranteeing a flavor-filled jam. With Donna’s permission I’m sharing that secret with you! She suggests putting the entire flat of strawberries (or any other fruit) directly in the freezer as soon as possible. By doing so, the juice is locked into the berry and yields plenty of juice when making into jam or jelly. Make sure you freeze the fruit for at least 24 hours before making into jam.
Another advantage to freezing fresh berries whole is that it makes it a breeze to remove the cap when the strawberry is frozen. No need to cut the tops off of the berries before freezing! I froze several gallons of strawberries this way last year and my kids were in heaven when they could grab a handful, break the green top off, and toss them into smoothies.
5. How to Bake With Strawberries
This post wouldn’t be complete without links to some of my family’s favorite strawberry dessert recipes. From Strawberry Brown Sugar Upside-Down Cake to Strawberry Cobbler, the possibilities are endless. Check out some of our go-to strawberry dessert recipes below. Click on the recipe photo for the recipe.
30-Minute Skillet Gnocchi Lasagna
ULTIMATE Copycat Restaurant Spinach Queso
How to Make Crack BLT Skillet Totchos
How To Make Lunch Lady Brownies
How To Make Ranch Style JOHN WAYNE CASSEROLE
You Can Make Whipped Hot Chocolate...Three Ways!
How to Make Honeycomb Toffee (aka Sponge Candy)
How to Make Old-Fashioned Divinity
Johnny Cash's Mom's Pineapple Pie