Luscious red strawberries are the first fruit to ripen as the weather warms, offering a welcome change of pace from winter citrus. Although they're now available year-round, spring is true strawberry season, when they’re at their juicy sweetest.
Strawberries are a member of the rose family. They grew wild in Europe and North America for centuries until they were cross-bred and cultivated in the late 18th century from a small, wild scarlet berry found in Virginia. Today, every state in the US grows strawberries, though for commercial purposes California and Florida lead the pack.
There are more than 70 strawberry varieties produced commercially, but only a limited number — the ones that can stand up to shipping and cold storage — are commonly encountered in supermarkets.
Why choose organic strawberries?
- Strawberries are #2 on the Environmental Working Group's “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. So choosing organic strawberries makes good sense — especially for children, whose growing bodies are so much more susceptible to environmental chemical exposures than adults’.
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our sweet organic strawberries without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic strawberries taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for strawberries and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store strawberries
- Look for small to medium-size fruit for the most concentrated flavor. Choose firm, plump berries with a deep, uniform red color and fresh-looking green caps. Avoid berries that are shriveled or moldy. Patches of white or green are signs of unripe fruit.
- For optimum flavor, use your strawberries the day you buy them, and eat them at room temperature.
- If you absolutely must store your berries, first discard any damaged fruit. Place the remainder in a single layer on a paper towel, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days. Bring them back to room temperature before serving.
Tips for using strawberries
- Don’t wash your strawberries until you’re ready to use them. Rinse thoroughly in cold water with their caps and stems still attached to keep the water from degrading the berries’ texture and flavor.
- Allow about 3-1/2 ounces of fresh strawberries (about 100g or a generous 1/2 cup) per person.
- For different taste sensations, serve fresh strawberries with freshly ground black pepper or toss them with good-quality aged balsamic vinegar. Slice, quarter or fan (slice without cutting through the green cap) berries for an easy, gorgeous garnish.