In season mid-summer: Strawberries
Strawberries are delicate and don’t ripen after being picked so choose plump, bright-coloured fruit that aren’t mushy or mouldy — check the base of a punnet if you aren’t picking your own — and go for strawberries with their greenery intact. Size can make a difference to taste: choose small to medium-sized strawberries as large ones can have a higher water content (which may mean they have less flavour).
Buy strawberries just a few days before you use them. Remove any damaged fruit and store them unhulled, unwashed in a sealed container in the fridge. Take strawberries out from the fridge an hour before using to allow fruit to come to room temperature.
To freeze strawberries, gently wash them and pat dry. Arrange strawberries in a single layer on a flat baking tray and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer berries to a heavy plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to one year.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and their phenolic content, while lower than other berries, adds to their very good antioxidant activity.
Since strawberries are highly perishable, don’t wash fruit until just before eating or using in a recipe. Use a paring knife or simply pinch off the greenery. Add fresh strawberries to homemade shakes or yoghurt, slice strawberries into a mixed green salad for colour and interest, or make a simple coulis blending strawberries with some orange juice — a perfect ‘topping’ for sundaes, trifles and desserts. Try our Strawberry ripple ice cream, Ambrosia or Berry trifle with cranberry jelly.
Fact: Strawberries are a member of the rose family.