Fresh Maine strawberries are a summer highlight! Here are some tips to help you get the most from your fresh berries.
Strawberries are nutritious!
- Strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C! Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruits. So, if you haven’t done so already, stock up on those strawberries from your local farmer! (Many farms offer a pick-your-own option, which means you can select your own fruit and save some money, too.)
- Always make sure that the caps on the strawberries are fresh, green and intact. Did you know when you remove the caps you tear cells in the berries, activating ascorbic acid oxidase, an enzyme that destroys Vitamin C? So, do not remove the caps from the berries until you are ready to use them.
- It is also important to use strawberries as soon after harvesting or purchasing as possible. If you do not plan to use the berries right away, they should always be stored unwashed and loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at the most. Warm temperatures cause a browning effect in strawberries, and the berries will also lose heat-sensitive Vitamin C during browning, heating and cooking.
- Do not wash berries until they are ready to use, and keep them refrigerated.
Freezing Fresh Strawberries
- If you have more fresh strawberries than you can use, it’s easy to freeze some for later. A good way to freeze strawberries is to spread a single layer on shallow trays and freeze until hard. Immediately pack the frozen berries into freezer bags or containers to prevent freezer burn. The berries will remain loose so that you can easily pour them from the container.
- Another great way to freeze strawberries is by making Strawberry Yogurt Pops! You can find the recipe on the Maine Senior FarmShare Program web page online at www.maine.gov/dacf/seniorfarmshare
- The season is short, so remember to enjoy fresh Maine strawberries whenever possible!