When To Buy Strawberries
Choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season. They will be the freshest and most flavorful. When picking strawberries, try to pick early in the morning or later in the day when the fruit is cool. Strawberries are best used within 2 - 3 days of picking. Cover and store them unwashed in the refrigerator. Do not crowd or press.
How Much To Buy
Berries are sold by weight or volume. Container sizes vary from farm to farm: pints, quarts, or larger. A pint box yields about 1 c. of puree'.
How To Store Fresh Strawberries
Sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible and use in sauces, purees' or jams. Place the berries in cool, well ventilated containers (32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit). The moisture content of fresh strawberries is high, so store uncovered or loosely covered. Hull strawberries and rinse gently JUST before serving. Careful storing and handling will maintain their maximum flavor, color and texture.
Freezing Strawberries Without Sugar for Jam and Other Uses
Fill freezer containers with prepared, sliced, or washed and dried berries to within 1/2" of top. Combine 4 c. cold water with 1 tbsp. of lemon or lime juice and pour over berries before freezing. Seal, label, and date.
Freezing in Sugar Syrup
Fill freezer containers with prepared berries to within 1/2" of top. Combine 4 c. cold water with 4 c. sugar; stir to dissolve. Pour over berries. Seal, label, and date. Allow 1-1/2 c. prepared fruit and 1/3 to 1/2 c. syrup per 1 pint container.
Freezing in Dry Pack, Sweetened
Toss together 3/4 c. sugar with 4 c. prepared berries; let stand until juice forms and sugar is almost dissolved. Pack in freezer containers leaving 1/2" head space. Seal, label, and date.
Individual Quick Freezing - Minimizing Berry "Mushiness"
For long term storage of individual berries individual quick freezing is recommended. This will minimize the "mushiness" associated with freezing the berries. Strawberries can be frozen and safely kept for up to 1 year. Place the berries on flat trays in a single layer, well spaced out, and put into the coldest part of the freezer (the colder the better). Choose firm, ripe berries; wash in ice before hulling. Carefully drain well on several layers of paper towels first. When frozen, store in quart or pint containers or place in heavy freezer bags, tightly sealed. If freezer bags are used, try to suck out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn. Seal, label, and date. These berries can be used individually, if desired, for special desserts, on cereals or as ice cubes in fancy drinks.
Information obtained from North American Strawberry Growers Association.