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What to do with Fresh-Picked Strawberries

Created May 23, 2019
These crimson berries combine perfectly with desserts and salads of all kinds. Follow our strawberry basics and tips, and you’ll be on your way to strawberry bliss!

Fresh strawberries are one of nature’s sweetest treats, and we can’t wait to let them shine in shortcakes, streusel bars and so much more. But before digging into all your favorite recipes, learn how to buy, store, prepare and preserve summer’s favorite berry with this guide from Betty Cocker.

How should I choose my strawberries?

Strawberries are available year-round but are best during peak season, April through July—depending on where you live. The best berries are fresh picked. Pick your own at the local patch, seek them out a farmers market or see if your grocery store carries locally-grown berries. Fully ripe berries should be bright red, shiny and not bruised or wrinkled. Green leaf-like caps, or hulls, should be attached to the berries. The size of the berries does not influence the taste or sweetness.

How should I store my strawberries?

Fresh strawberries are best used within 2 or 3 days of purchase or picking—do not wash until ready to use. Store loosely covered in the refrigerator. If your berries are in a clamshell container, place a paper towel on the top and store them upside down—to absorb any moisture that might otherwise make the bottom berries soggy.

When should I wash my strawberries?

It’s important to wash your strawberries, but they should not be washed until you’re ready to eat them or bake with them. Washing strawberries before storing will lead to an excess of moisture which can cause premature molding. When rinsing strawberries, rinse under cool water in a colander. Place on a paper towel and pat to dry.

How can I make my strawberries last longer?

While it’s common practice to keep berries in their original containers and not wash until eating, there is a trick that keeps them fresher for longer. After purchasing strawberries, wash the fruit in a water and vinegar bath. Washing the berries in this mixture will remove any bacteria and will put off molding longer. Follow the simple ratio of 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water. Be sure to rinse the berries thoroughly ensuring all removal of vinegar. To dry, place berries on a paper towel and pat to dry. If following this method, it’s important to store vinegar-rinsed berries in a paper towel lined, sealable container or bag with a small crack left open to allow any excess moisture to escape.

How should I prepare my strawberries?

Remove the hull, or “cap,” from the top of the strawberry with a paring knife or a strawberry huller, a small tweezer-like utensil with rounded ends. To use, grasp the green, leafy hull with the huller, then pull to remove the green hull and the white core without removing any of the strawberry. Look for hullers at kitchen stores, department stores or shops online that carry kitchen supplies. Preparing your strawberries this way allows for less waste of the berry and makes eating and slicing them so much easier.

How do I freeze fresh strawberries?

Gently wash strawberries and pat dry. Remove hulls from strawberries. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and freeze up to a year. Use them frozen, or thaw before using if desired. Thawed berries will be soft. If you’ve got an abundance of berries, a great recipe to try is our Strawberry Freezer Jam. All it takes is four ingredients and a few easy steps for a fresh taste of summer that can be preserved year-round. We recommend slathering on a warm, buttery biscuit for an easy breakfast or snack.

How do I puree strawberries?

Place strawberries in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pureed strawberries are a great addition to a summertime drink or even a refreshing glass of lemonade. This Strawberry Lemonade Slush is the perfect drink to make with freshly pureed berries. Or, try making a simple strawberry sauce by adding some sugar and serving over cheesecake or even ice cream.

How do I macerate strawberries?

Macerating elevates the flavor of berries. It may sound tricky, it’s actually quite simple. The key to macerating strawberries is to first hull the berry and slice them in halves or quarters—depending on the size. Next, you’ll stir your berries in bowl with a few spoonful of sugar and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until juices are released. And there you have it! Macerated strawberries are syrupy and bursting with flavor, so they’re a great treat all on their own, but we think they deserve to be topped on our beautiful Slab Strawberry Shortcake.

whole strawberries

Berry basics

When baking with strawberries it’s good to keep in mind a few measurements—these basics will be helpful when buying and preparing the fresh berries.

  • 1-pint strawberries = about 2 cups sliced
  • 1-pound strawberries = 3 cups sliced
  • 1-quart strawberries = about 4 cups sliced

Strawberry season doesn’t last long. Print or bookmark this page and you’ll have all the tips and tricks when the strawberry patch is bursting with juicy red fruit!