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seasonal produce: strawberries

Along with spring showers, April brings ripe, juicy strawberries to market. While fresh strawberries are available year-round, nothing beats the in-season berries that appear from April through June. Pick up a basket or two and use these tips to try out delicious strawberry cake recipes. Their natural sweetness makes everything better, from creamy smoothies and shakes and berry-licious pancakes to desserts of all kinds, including (but not limited to) easy pies, strawberry cheesecakes and refreshing frozen desserts. Strawberries also lend a sweet counterpoint to savory side salads.

Purchasing Strawberries

  • Strawberries are picked ripe, so unripened fruit will not ripen further after picking. Select plump, brightly colored berries with fresh green caps. If packaged in a container, check the bottom for bruised, moldy or shriveled berries.
  • Sort the berries before storing them, discarding any that are moldy or bruised. Without washing or hulling them, refrigerate in a covered container for 2 to 3 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze strawberries. Wash and hull them as directed below. Pat them dry and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then transfer to airtight freezer containers or bags. Freeze for up to 8 months.

Preparing Strawberries

  • Wash strawberries before hulling them and just before using them to preserve flavor. Simply give them a quick, gentle rinse in cold water. Never soak berries in water or they can become waterlogged. Gently pat dry with paper towels.
  • Hulling strawberries removes their green caps and inner white cores. Use your fingertips to pull off the leafy caps and then cut out the soft white cores with the tip of a paring knife.
  • Use an egg slicer to quickly and evenly slice washed and hulled strawberries. One pint yields about 2 cups sliced strawberries.

    Strawberry Nutrition

    • Cholesterol and sodium free
    • Excellent source of vitamin C
    • Good source of fiber

    Serving Strawberries

    • Toss sliced strawberries in salads or over bowls of your favorite cereal.
    • Stir chopped strawberries into pancake or muffin batter.
    • Add strawberries to your favorite blender drinks or milk shakes.
    • Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over a pint of sliced berries and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve the syrupy strawberry sauce over scoops of ice cream.
    • Dip whole, unhulled strawberries in melted BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet until chocolate sets.
    • Garnish desserts, such as prepared JELL-O Pudding, with whole or sliced strawberries.
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