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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Its strawberry season, folks! They are the first fruit of the year to appear. Yippee!
You've scored some beautiful local grown strawberries from the farmers market or maybe
you were able to go to a u-pick farm and toted them home with great care. You've rinsed
a few off and eaten them immediately, but what to do with the rest?
First things first, don't you dare wash the strawberries until you're ready to eat
them or use them. Strawberries are like small sponges and soak up all the water they
come into contact with, and once they've soaked it up, they are quicker to turn to
mush and mold even if they've been thoroughly patted dry.
If you bring strawberries home and want them to last, better to teach yourself and
your family to give each portion a quick rinse before they are eaten. They'll taste
better and last longer!
It depends on several things. If you plan on eating or cooking with the berries within
a day and it's not too hot in your kitchen, you can leave the strawberries out at
room temperature. If you plan on using them in a day or two, then you are better off
The best way to keep them fresh is to take them out of the plastic container they
came in. Take a shallow glass bowl and lay paper towels on the bottom of the bowl.
In a single layer, place the strawberries in the bowl allowing room for air to flow
in between the berries. Do not over crowd them. Add another paper towel and layer
with more berries, being sure not to overcrowd the berries. Cover with a lid or wrap,
and chill the berries until you're ready to use them. Stored this way, very fresh
strawberries will keep for several days. The purpose of the paper towels is to soak
up excess moisture from the strawberries.
If you want longer term storage and aren’t planning on using the strawberries within
a few days, you're better off freezing them than trying to keep them all fresh and
unblemished. Frozen strawberries are perfect for whirling in smoothies, turning into
sauces, or baking up in pies, tarts, cakes, making jam and other treats.
And the good news is you don't need a lot of berries to freeze them. Dry pack them.
The dry pack is good for small whole fruits such as berries that give a good quality
product without sugar. Select fully ripe, firm berries with a deep red color. Discard
immature and defective fruit. Wash and remove caps. Pack the fruit into a container,
seal and freeze.
A tray pack is an alternative that may make the fruit easier to remove from the container.
Simply spread a single layer of prepared fruit on shallow trays and freeze. When frozen,
promptly package and return to the freezer. The fruit pieces remain loose and can
be poured from the container and then the package is re-closed. Be sure to package
the fruit as soon as it is frozen to prevent freezer burn.
Arkansas fresh strawberries are available on Saturdays at the Gateway Farmers’ Market
in downtown Texarkana. However, time is short so get yours soon!
Get your free copy of Arkansas Fresh Strawberries here or contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room
215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the
web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller
This fresh salad is tossed with a sweet poppy seed dressing that is best served immediately.
Allowing the strawberries to marinate too long in the dressing will take away some
of their sweetness.
By Carla DueCounty Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.