Strawberry shortcake, strawberry tarts, and strawberry muffins. Sound familiar? How about strawberry Hummus or strawberry cinnamon rolls? From classics to unique surprises, there are tons of wonderful recipes that incorporate strawberries. There is nothing like a strawberry rhubarb pie in a homemade, flaky pie crust. Why not go with fresh ones? Strawberry farms are fun for the whole family, so let’s get picking!
The Farm-to-Table Experience
A trip to pick your own berries can be just as educational as it is inspiring. Everyone has a chance to see how passionate the farmers are in being responsible for growing the food we eat. Those who work on the farms are usually more than willing to share their knowledge – so don’t be afraid to ask about the picking process before you start!
Strawberry Picking Basics
Before you go picking, it is important to know what your goals are. Strawberries have a short shelf life and can go bad quickly. What you plan to make, how many strawberries are needed, and how much you would like to leave in the fridge or freezer are all good things to know before packing up the car.
Many people overlook the important detail of weather conditions. While a trip to the farm on a sunny afternoon is tempting, strawberries picked in heat will soften and spoil more rapidly. Earlier in the morning or on cloudy days is advised.
How to Pick Strawberries
- Hold the stem of the berry between your thumbnail and index finger while cradling the berry in your palm.
- With your thumbnail gently sever the stem and slightly twist until it falls into your hand.
- Sever the stem instead of pulling the fruit. You want the whole cap and the stem.
- Do not stack your berries more than five inches high in your container. It could damage or bruise the fruit on the bottom.
Getting Your Strawberries Home
Depending on how far you are from the farm you might want to bring a cooler for the ride home. As mentioned, heat and strawberries do not mix well. Once home, chill the strawberries without washing them. You want to wash your berries just before using to prevent rapid spoiling due to being stored in excess moisture. But, if you plan to freeze strawberries, wash and cut the green caps off before sealing in a freezer bag.
Now it’s time to get creative! Smoothies, pies, al la mode… There’s no end to the possibilities.