Storing, freezing, drying strawberries – tips for long-lasting freshness
Strawberry season has already begun and boxes filled to the brim with the red fruit are now appearing in every supermarket. With appropriate care, nature lovers should now be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor with strawberry plants in the garden or on the balcony. Sometimes, however, the harvest can be overwhelming. While you can buy exactly the amounts of fruit you need at the supermarket, your plants don’t care how much you can eat at once and how much is wasted. Once the season begins, strawberry plants produce seemingly endless amounts of fruit that need to be harvested almost daily. You cannot simply leave the excess on the plant. The ripe fruits begin to rot within a very short time, attracting pests and spreading diseases. So how do you store strawberries without them going bad? In today’s article, we share with you a few strawberry gardening secrets.
Do your strawberries always go bad within 2-3 days?
Then today’s post is for you!
Choose the best strawberries
It all starts with selecting the very best strawberries from the garden or the store. Unlike most fruits and vegetables, strawberries do not ripen after they are picked. Therefore, it is quite important to choose only the best fruits. If you still see light pink or white spots on the fruit in your garden, check again the next day. During the harvest season, strawberries ripen extremely quickly.
When choosing strawberries from the store, look for bright red, shiny and plump fruits. Always look at the bottom of the pack, because that’s where the moldy fruit is usually hiding.
If the strawberries are dark red, wrinkled and mushy, they are overripe and beginning to spoil. At the same time, the dark red fruits are the sweetest and are still good for jams, marmalades, jellies, etc.
When harvesting strawberries from your own garden, carefully break the stalk off the plant. Don’t pull on the fruit or it may detach from its green stalk. In this case, the fruit will spoil in no more than 2 days. Strawberries without leaves must be used or eaten the same day after picking.
This red strawberry is perfect for picking
Always discard rotten fruit so as not to infect the others
Easily recognize unripe, ripe and overripe fruit
Store strawberries in the fridge
In order to stay ripe and plump for as long as possible, strawberries must not be exposed to high temperatures (including room temperature), water or air. They must be stored in such a way that the fruit does not lose its natural water content, otherwise it will quickly shrivel and spoil.
The very best way to store strawberries is to transfer them straight from their casket or harvest basket to a large mason jar. Be careful not to crush the fruit. Do not wash the strawberries or remove the leaves. Unscrew the lid and place the mason jar in the coldest part of the fridge – the crisper. If you have selected the very best strawberries, this method guarantees freshness for up to 2 weeks.
Tests show that strawberries stay fresher the longest in a mason jar
You can pick the fruit straight from the garden and put it in jars
Store strawberries in the freezer
Do you have far too many strawberries and would you like to enjoy some in late autumn, winter and spring when the season is already over? Then you should store your strawberries by freezing them.
To do this, you must first wash your fruit well. You can also dip them in a bowl of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Even diluted, vinegar helps kill surface germs.
You can now remove the green leaves if you wish. But did you know that you can not only eat them, but also that they are healthy? Strawberry leaves contain caffeic acid, which relieves water tension in joints and relieves arthritis pain. The tannins and fiber in the leaves also relieve stomach upset, cramps and bloating, and improve digestion.
Place the strawberries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until strawberries are frozen firm. That way they don’t get mushy when thawed. Then place them in an airtight container or quick-seal bag and store in the freezer. Your strawberries will keep for up to a year using this method.
Strawberries do not lose nutrients when frozen
The strawberry stem is not to everyone’s taste, but it is actually healthy
Dry strawberries and make strawberry chips yourself
Strawberries are great for drying. Sweet varieties then taste even sweeter because the fructose is concentrated during drying. Once dry, strawberry chips can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 months. However, be aware that about 1 kilo of fresh strawberries yields only about 80 grams of crisps. After all, the fruit consists of almost 91% water.
Now prepare your strawberries. Wash them, remove the leaves and cut into 3-4 mm thin slices. Place the fruit slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place them on the middle shelf in an oven preheated to 80 degrees. Use a wooden spoon to leave the door open a crack so that the moisture can escape. In 3 to 5 hours your strawberries should be completely dry.
A dehydrator is much more energy efficient. Set the temperature to 50 degrees and let the strawberry slices dry for about 6 to 10 hours.
Much healthier than potato chips
Use a low temperature so you don’t kill off the nutrients
Thin slices dry much faster than whole fruits
Storing strawberries is easier than many hobby gardeners and cooks imagine. So your fruit won’t go bad within a few days anymore!
Always wash the fruit with the stalk
Strawberries are like little sponges and absorb a lot of water when washed
After that, they go bad super fast