Selecting, Handling & Storing Strawberries
How to Pick Strawberries
Strawberries keep longer when they are picked and handled correctly. Because they are a very tender fruit, they will bruise and discolor any time they are squeezed. Handle them gently, at all times, whether you are picking them, placing them in the container, or handling the filled containers. The surest way to pick fruit with a minimum of bruising is as follows:
- Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion.
- With the stem broken about one-half inch from the berry, allow it to roll into the palm of your hand.
- Carefully place - don't throw - the fruit into your containers. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Don't overfill your containers or try to pack the berries down.
- Be careful that your feet and knees do not damage plants or fruit in or along the edge of the row.
- Remember that heaping strawberries more than 5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.
- Pick only the berries that are fully red.
- Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.
The best suited strawberries to be frozen are berries that are dark red, firm and fully ripe. Remove stem and caps. Sort, wash and drain the fruit carefully. Do not soak in water, or the strawberry will lose flavor and nutrients. Do not add sugar.
Freeze strawberries individually in a single layer on cookie sheets. After completely frozen (about 24 hours) place into freezer containers or freezer bags.