What you need to know: Strawberries are a member of the rose family and although many might think of them as their favourite fruit they are in fact not a fruit at all. Technically, strawberries are not considered a fruit because their seeds are located on the outside. Strawberries are fragrant red berries and are an excellent choice for home gardens as they are perennials which means they will come back each spring. Their flavour can vary from extremely sweet and juicy to very tart with both sides of the coin being equally pleasurable. The most important rule when handling fresh strawberries is to avoid washing them until you are ready to eat them. When wet and not consumed the moisture will cause them to spoil more quickly.
In Season: Strawberries are in season in late June and into July.
What to look for: Strawberries should be bright red without any signs of bruising as once bruised they will deteriorate quite quickly. Strawberries with white or green colouring will be woody, sour and dry. Also often smaller firm, red berries are more pleasant than the large ones often imported from areas such as California. Look for locally grown strawberries in season for the best possible flavour.
How to store it: When storing them the best plan is to place them on paper towels in a single layer in a glass baking dish. This will keep them from bruising and spoiling. If this is not possible keep them layered with paper towels to help absorb access moisture. Glass containers work best and they should be kept in an airtight container. Plastic will do if this is all you have. Regardless of the container be certain to place them in the fridge. You can also freeze strawberries in freezer bags and use them as you need them as soon as possible. If you do freeze them remove the stems first.
Why you should try it: Strawberries offer a deep, sweet and pleasing flavour that can be enjoyed in everything from desserts to salads. You can eat them as they are and when tart dip them in sugar, fresh cream or whipped cream. They are also lovely when dipped in chocolate. Strawberries also offer many health benefits including a good dose of Vitamin C with a single serving providing 97 percent of your recommended daily intake. They are also considered to be a powerful antioxidant and contain plenty of natural fibre. Eating strawberries is an ideal healthy snack the whole family will love when used in morning smoothies, refreshing slushies and served with yogurt for a great breakfast. Classic pairings include rhubarb as well as other berries, especially blueberries ideal in pies, crumbles and other summer fresh desserts.