Knowing how to pick strawberries should mean getting the freshest, juiciest produce to take home with you. These strawberries should be fully ripened and there are telltale signs to look out for.
Look out for those unblemished ones too and treat those strawberries carefully. There is a certain technique for picking strawberries that can make all the difference too. In this guide, we will detail how to pick strawberries.
We will also look at how to store your freshly picked strawberries and how to select the ripest strawberries.
How To Pick Strawberries?
During the morning, the berries will be cool and when you are bending down to a strawberry plant, you should be looking for ripened ones. Once you find them, there is a certain way to pick a strawberry and keep it intact.
That means holding the stem of the strawberry just above its green cap. Have your container ready as you want to spend little time holding on to the strawberries. Grasp the green stem of the strawberry between your thumbnail and forefinger.
Do not grab the strawberry itself as you may bruise it but gently pull and twist it away from the plant. This should be done in one, quick move with the strawberry gently falling into your hand. Delicately, place the strawberry into your container and find the next one to pick.
Not only will the strawberry come away fully intact but this technique will prolong its shelf life. With the leaves and caps intact for each individual strawberry, each of them will look prettier too.
Having said that, if you tear off the cap accidentally, you should probably eat the strawberry right there and then. Carefully place the strawberry, cap, leaves, and all, in the container and make sure you get them home quickly.
How To Store Your Freshly Picked Strawberries?
Once you get home, your freshly picked strawberries will still have a limited shelf life. That’s with their caps and leaves intact, and even if you get home quickly. At room temperature, those strawberries may only remain fresh for a single day which may prove ideal.
If you have only picked a few strawberries, you should be prepared to consume them within 24 hours after washing. To make your strawberries last longer when you get them home, put the container straight into the refrigerator.
That’s right, you should only wash them when they are ready to be eaten. Unwashed, those strawberries can last for between four and five days.
When you wash your strawberries or remove the green tops, you will limit how long they can remain fresh so leave them as they are. Strawberries also freeze pretty well so that’s an option if you have no plans to eat them right away.
Perhaps you have some left over that you want to save for a later date. In this case, you can wash them and then hull them. Arrange them on a single layer on a baking sheet and leave them in the freezer.
It should not take long for a batch of strawberries to freeze as they are mainly made from water. Once they are frozen solid, transfer them to a Ziploc freezer bag.
Carefully place the bag back into the freezer and they can be stored for between three and six months. Should you pick the strawberries in summer, you can eat them when winter comes along.
How To Select The Ripest Strawberries?
Look out for a strawberry with a full, red color as this is your greatest indicator of ripeness. Strawberries fail to ripen once they have been picked so they should be gloriously red when you pick them.
That means the body of the strawberries should be plump and firm while their tips are red too. Avoid the strawberries with yellow, green, or white tips as they are still yet to ripen.
Be careful with damaged strawberries, even ripened ones. They can soon rot when left in the container which can get a bit messy when you have to sort them.
Strawberry season tends to only last for around three to four weeks so you have got to pick them quickly. As long as you know how to pick those strawberries properly, they should remain in great condition when you get them home.
Try not to wash them until you are ready to eat a few as you will reduce their shelf life. However, if you do not want to eat all the strawberries right away then you can store them in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Berry plants, like strawberries, will attempt to set fruit in their first year but you should be wary. Pick off the blossoms instead to discourage the plant from fruiting.
That will encourage the plant to develop its roots instead. Give it another year and the berry yields will be far more plentiful, around a month after the full bloom.
When strawberry picking season comes around, there should be plenty of signs advertising them in nearby farms. With so many strawberries in a single harvest, it can be really fun to pick your own and eat a few while you go.
The quality should be good and there are telltale signs for ripeness and you should know how to pick them. However, if you did not want to venture out into the country, you could grow your own.
You only need a single plant to look after to get your own supply of strawberries. Give them a couple of years to encourage good root growth yet strawberries can grow in a range of climates.
Plus, you can examine the strawberries every so often and exhibit patience waiting for them to ripen. Protect the plants from frost, look out for diseases and pests, and you can have your own harvest.