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Strawberries
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Shelley



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Strawberries Reply with quote


Hello!
Love this site. I have a simple question regarding strawberries.
What's the best way to preserve them? Whenever I can, I buy them individually (as opposed to by the basket)...but they never keep for longer than a day, really.

Would welcome some insight.
Regards,
Shelley
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Shelley Tatum Kieran
Kleinburg, Ontario
shelley@dwellmag.com
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jam comes immediately to mind. But perhaps you don't want the cooking and all that sugar to overwhelm the fresh taste. If jam will do it for you, look for a grower who will sell you his or her "seconds" for a very nice discount. Growers usually only sell the cosmetically appealing berries at market -- the retailers want the luscious, uniform specimen they can build their pyramids from and charge top $ for. There are lots of other perfectly fine berries that are rejected because of malformation, less than intense color, or small size that still have very nice flavor. In my area growers are happy to be able to pick up some cash for these so they really mark them down by the flat or half-flat.

Keep that in mind when you want tomatoes for sauce or something too when they come into season. Wink

I'd also look for a recipe (perhaps for a jam that needs to be stored in the fridge and used relatively quickly) that has less sugar. Sugar is an antibacterial so "canned" jam will have a high concentration -- still good but I'd prefer to taste the fruit myself.

Have you tried freezing berries? It's, clearly, not the same thing as a fresh strawberry but frozen berries can still taste good in Winter. What I've seen done is putting well-separated berries on a tray and putting them in the freezer. Once they're frozen solid, you can put them together in baggies. This works for blueberries, boisenberries and raspberries as well.

Seconds would be a good choice for freezing too since the berries are going to be very soft when they thaw out. Freezing expands the liquids in the cells which, in turn, breaks down the cellular structure. So, even the perfect specimen will lose a lot of its visual appeal. That's why some people recommend serving frozen berries when they're not quite completely thawed.

Ice cream is another thought. Real strawberry ice cream is another way to use those less expensive seconds and ice cream made from fresh berries is a genuine treat. If you decide to try this, be sure to macerate your berries in sugar for several hours to leech as much liquid out of the berries as possible. You'll use this sweetened juice as part of your liquid to get all the flavor in your ice cream. Meanwhile, the resulting softened fruit pulp won't freeze into objectionable little red ice cubes in your ice cream. It will stay soft, flavorful and have perfect texture.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shelly- I get frustrated too when the fresh berries go downhill quickly. I talked to growers at my local farmers' market about it. And maybe this is really what you were asking about.

They say that you have to be very sure that each fruit has NO point where the skin is bruised or pierced. So carry them home carefully. Then wash them with the green sepal still on. Gently pat them dry and give them good air circulation to dry thoroughly. Now put them on a plate lined with a paper towel with generous space separating each berry.

If you're going to enjoy them the same day leave them on an airy counter at room temperature. The flavor will stay most intense at room temperature. If you want to keep them a few days (that's all you're going to get out of them), put them in the fridge but not on a shelf where they'll be crowded.

You can also slice them and toss the slices with a small amount of sugar. This will give you the longest storage time in the fridge. The fruit will be a little softer but will still have excellent fresh flavor.

Hope one or the other of these posts is what you were looking for. And welcome to this forum! Always lovely to have new people! Wink
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Shelley



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your posts!
I was actually looking for how to keep berries fresh longer and you've given me some great tips. Preserves in that sense, tho, are also a welcome addition. Always looking for ways to celebrate the berry! Thanks again. Shelley
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Kleinburg, Ontario
shelley@dwellmag.com
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: THE berry :-) Reply with quote

Shelley ~ the very WORD 'strawberry' is Summer itself! Our berry season is finished, however that hasn't stopped me searching. Found this site you might enjoy ~ it looks so English ~ in a strawberries and cream sort of way.

http://www.hauntedfish.co.uk/~food/recipes/strawberry_preserve_jam_freeze_dry.htm

My daughter uses dried strawberries in her granola recipe, which is scrumptious. We are lucky enough to live near berry farms and during the season can romp through the red delights....I don't mean trample...I mean joyously feast Wink

An hour's drive from home is a blueberry orchard..the owner is Swiss and used to get students to pick for him, however he found they were too rough with them so decided to have "pick your own". Each year a big big group of Russians come up to pick for a day...they picnic and have loads of fun..it doesn't take long to discover how to pick the best! They remind me of mini grapes..those fabulous bunches right under the leaves...I have to bend low for my treasures..can picture a bowl filled...

Shelley, I wish you scrumptious strawberrying. And YES, c'nz is a lovely spot.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to freeze them use dry ice in a cooler. It freezes the berries in an instant and allows for a product that won't get soggy and unappetizing upon the thaw.
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portdevoix



Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sometimes put a few fresh strawberries in a vacuum sealer canister. They keep like that for up to 5 days. The rest, I stem and freeze. I love making strawberry daiquiris out of just rum, frozen strawberries, and some sort of sweetener (sometimes sugar, more often Splenda).

But, the reality is that, whenevery I buy fresh strawberries, they tend to be gone within a few minutes of serving them. Just the berries and a gob of whipped cream.

YUM
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Carolina


"La cuisine au beurre est toujours meilleure."
- Julia Child, 1912-2004
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand the problem with your concern about strawberries. You say they don't last longer than a day. That seems strange. Fruit stays good if it is kept cool for a week. If it starts getting soft, mash them up and use them in cereal or as a topping on other food.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strawberries are very fragile. If there's a break in the skin bacteria invades and sets up fuzzy housekeeping very fast. And if one strawberry is in contact with another, the little green angora beasties spread like crazy.

The going soft and/or dehydrating are comparatively slower processes in berries.
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:51 am    Post subject: strawberry protection.. Reply with quote

well it's about time suits of armour for strawberries made it to the cuisine catwalk...anyone catching the programme "Body Snatchers"...so much wildlife on and in us it's more than amazing...talk about FULL of life!

"Being Dead" by Jim Crace is a great read about such matters...a fabulous novel...oops...from Strawberries to novels about death...oops sorry!
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:39 pm    Post subject: Re: strawberry protection.. Reply with quote

concerning strawberry jam: the most delicious version is to freeze the berries in small batches and to cook the jam fresh each time you'd like some. this method keeps the wonderful fruity flavor which normally disappears by storing the jam for longer. By cooking only one or two glasses at a time you also can use less sugar, because being that delicious, they'll be consumed in a very short time ...
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey---"little green angora beasties" is spendid!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

birgit- What an excellent suggestion!

David- Coming from the author of "bovine snot" I take that as a high complement! Wink Laughing
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey---"little green angora beasties" is spendid!

David- Coming from the author of "bovine snot" I take that as a high complement!

I think I missed a step, "bovine snot" interesting. Thanks for the chuckle you two.
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"It's hot ham water."
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, thanks a lot! Smile

Reading about these "little green angora beasties" reminded me of the handful of green almonds I've bought a few days ago, because they looked that lovely, hoping to find some recipe I could use them in. But I wasn't lucky, I still have no idea what to do with them, maybe treat them like vegetables? Or do they work like olives? Is the green skin edible? It is a bit furry and soft and after slicing it there is a small and delicate little white almond in the middle, surrounded by the light green skin. Very pretty.
Lots of questions - does anybody know more?
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