Summer might as well just be called “strawberry season” what with all the good strawberry-kissed salads and desserts (strawberry shortcake, anyone?) hitting your Insta feed from April through the end of the growing season in August. >’s everything you need to know about summer’s favorite berry.
HOW TO PICK THE BEST STRAWBERRIES AT THE GROCERY STORE
There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries out there (they’re mostly bred to grow in different seasons and regions), but what you want to look for across the board is that bright fire-engine red color. “A strawberry is at its peak once it’s been picked, after which it no longer ripens,” says Frances Dillard, director of . at Driscoll’s. “That’s why you’re seeing bright red berries in the store because they don’t ripen.” So, the more saturated and shiny the color, the better. Avoid berries with white patches or ones that look faded. As for the little green leaf caps, look for fresh foliage—the leaves shouldn’t be dried out.
HOW TO STORE STRAWBERRIES
“The best way to keep strawberries as fresh as possible for as long as possible is to keep them cold,” says Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director at the California Strawberry Commission. That means not leaving them to steam in your hot car while you run errands after the farmers market. Once you get them home, keep those babies dry and don’t rinse them until you’re ready to eat. “Water just encourages mold growth and the strawberries start to break down faster,” says O’Donnell.
HOW TO PREPARE STRAWBERRIES
Rinse them with water very briefly, then pat dry before you cut. You’ll then want to hull the strawberry (remove the green leafy stem) . carefully cutting it out with a paring knife. Be careful of waste—you don’t want to take out too much of the edible fruit!
To freeze strawberries, remove the leaves and slice off any soft spots before putting them in the freezer, says Dillard. “You can also freeze strawberries on a baking sheet before packing them into containers to avoid them sticking together.”
HOW TO COOK WITH STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries are (duh) good all on their own (or better yet, dipped in no-frills chocolate…). But there’s also some really innovative ways to work them onto your plate, says O’Donnell. “Anywhere you can use a fresh tomato, you can substitute fresh strawberries.” Think sweet strawberry bruschetta, strawberry sprinkled salad, or even strawberry pizza with goat cheese and arugula. Mmmm. “I also like to freeze the whole berry and then use it as an ice cube in lemonade or sangria,” adds O’Donnell. Genius.
WHAT ARE THE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF STRAWBERRIES?
The best part about strawberries is that they’re ridiculously good for you. “We’re finding that they’re really good at reducing inflammation and they’re full of vitamin C and other antioxidants,” says O’Donnell. They’re also a great . of fiber and potassium to help keep your gut and muscles in tip-top shape. Research has linked strawberries to everything from reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease to lower levels of weight gain and knee pain. And more good news: A medium-sized strawberry has around four calories, and the fruit is relatively low in sugar (one cup of raw berries has seven grams of sugar).