There’s nothing that says “Hello Summer” quite like eating a juicy vine-ripened strawberry.
Called “inside-out” fruit because the seeds are on the outside, each strawberry has an average of 200 seeds. Strawberries are actually members of the rose family and grew wild for centuries in the Americas and Europe.
How to buy fresh Strawberries
Shop with your nose. Always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright, and fresh looking with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps (stems).
How to store Strawberries
Use the berries as soon as possible as strawberries ripen no further once picked.
For best flavour, do not wash the strawberries until you are ready to eat or use them. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to storing strawberries. Also, leave the caps on until ready to eat.
Strawberries tastes best at room temperature, remove from the refrigerator approximately 1 hour before they are to be used.
Store fresh strawberries in a colander in the refrigerator. This allows the cold air to circulate around them. Do not cover them.
How to Freeze Whole Strawberries
Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Don’t soak them long in water as this will result in a loss of flavour and nutrients!
Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled.
Place the strawberries on a baking sheet, not touching one another, and freeze until solid.
Transfer the strawberries to plastic resealable bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months.
Strawberries in Simple Syrup
This tried and true ‘old school’ method calls for freezing the berries whole in a mildly sweet sugar-water. You can use jars or plastic containers to freeze them in.
Packed in liquid, the berries retain their colour and shape when reconstituted, making them a standalone dessert. They can also be spooned over yogurt or ice cream, or heaped onto scones and topped with cream for a classic strawberry shortcake that is not lacking in flavour.
Tip 1: Make the simple syrup before you go berry picking or acquire your fruit. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge, and will be waiting, already chilled, for the moment your fresh strawberries arrive.
Tip 2: Add a subtle, natural flavouring to the simple syrup such as orange zest, green cardamom pods, or vanilla bean. Your jar of berries is now a seasonal dessert; thaw, open and eat with a spoon come January for a reminder of warmer days.
How to Freeze Strawberries in Simple Syrup
Make a simple syrup by combining 4 cups water to each 1 cup sugar. Dissolve the sugar in either cold or hot water; if hot water is used, be sure to chill the syrup before using.
Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with cold syrup; use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of syrup for each pint container. Package and freeze.
To Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Never immerse frozen jars into hot water.
Recipe Source: http://www.simplebites.net
One pint of fresh strawberries = about 3 1/4 cups whole berries = 2 1/4 cups sliced berries = 1 2/3 cups pureed berries.