Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Strawberries

HYG-5531
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
02/25/2010
Original author: Barbara H. Drake
Originally reviewed by Lydia C. Medeiros, Specialist, Food and Nutrition
Originally reviewed by Richard C. Funt, Specialist, Horticulture
Updated by Julie Kennel Shertzer, Program Specialist, Human Nutrition

June is when Ohio strawberries are in abundance. Enjoy them in simple preparations to savor their sweet flavor.

Selection

  • Berries should have a full red color, bright luster, and firm, plump flesh.
  • Choose fully ripe berries. Strawberries do not ripen after being picked.
  • The caps should be bright green, fresh looking, and fully attached.
  • Berries should be dry and clean; usually medium to small berries have better eating quality than large ones.
  • Avoid berries with large uncolored or seedy areas or those with a dull, soft look.

Storage

  • Use strawberries as soon after purchase as possible.
  • Take berries home immediately after purchase. Remove the berries from their market or store container. Leaving the caps on the berries, sort and gently arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or other shallow container. Store in the refrigerator immediately.
  • Just before serving, wash them in gently flowing cold water in a colander. Drain and remove caps by giving them an easy twist with a strawberry huller or sharp knife.

Nutrition

  • Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C; a one cup serving provides more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C.
  • One cup of unsweetened berries contains only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

Yield

Due to the many variables, such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is impossible to give specific recommendations as to quantity to buy. As a rule of thumb, 1 quart strawberries = approximately 3¾ cups hulled, whole berries.

Serving Ideas

  • Strawberries are a natural combined with cream, ice cream, milk, or yogurt.
  • For an unusual dessert, make an egg or egg substitute omelet, but sweeten it with sugar. Pour Kirsch (cherry liquor) over fresh, sliced strawberries and allow to stand a few minutes. Cover omelet with the strawberry mixture and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Shortcake, tarts, pies, and a variety of baked desserts show off the gorgeous strawberry.
  • Slice strawberries into a salad of romaine lettuce, mushrooms, red skinned onions, toasted almonds, and a sweet and sour dressing.
  • Wash and dry fresh strawberries. Keep caps attached. Dip blossom end, up to ½ the berry, into melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and chill. Serve as an elegant party treat.

Uncooked Berry Jam

  • 2 cups crushed strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • ¾ cup water

To prepare fruit—Sort and wash fully ripe berries. Drain. Remove caps and stems; crush berries.

To make jam—Place prepared berries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, mix well and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve pectin in water and boil for 1 minute. Add pectin solution to berry-and-sugar mixture; stir for 3 minutes. Pour jam into freezer containers or canning jars, leaving ½ inch space at the top. Cover containers and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until jam has set. 

Store uncooked jams in refrigerator or freezer. They can be held up to 3 weeks in a refrigerator or up to a year in a freezer. 

Makes 5 or 6 half-pint jars.

For information on preserving strawberries, contact your local OSU Extension office or search Ohioline for the following publications: 

  • Drying Fruits and Vegetables, HYG-5347
  • Safe Handling of Fruits and Vegetables, HYG-5353
  • Preserving Pie Fillings, HYG-5355
  • Basics for Canning Fruit, HYG-5343
  • Freezing Fruits, HYG-5349
  • Jams, Jellies, and Other Fruit Spreads, HYG-5350
  • Growing and Using Fruit at Home, Bulletin 591
  • Strawberries are an Excellent Fruit for the Home Garden, HYG-1424
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