‘Tis the season for strawberries! Juicy, sweet, lush organic strawberries. (I’m stipulating organic when it comes to strawberries because they are one of the top-sprayed fruits, and seeing as you’re eating the outside of the berry, it makes sense to opt for organic strawberries.) Most of the time, I like to have a variety of fruit in my fruit bowl, but when strawberry season hits in June, the “fruit bowl” becomes the “strawberry bowl.”
Here’s my top tip for choosing good strawberries: gently tilt the package of organic strawberries right to left and upside down so that you can scope out any potential bad berries. By “bad,” I mean berries with soft spots, leaking spots, or blemished spots. Look for a package of all-dry, all-red berries. When you get home, gently pick the strawberries out of the package one at a time to do an even more thorough check. Rinse and eat any that have soft spots. Only rinse the berries you’re going to eat right away! Wet berries will mold very fast if they sit around, even if they’re refrigerated.
Speaking of that, I don’t store my strawberries in the fridge since I find that doing so flattens their flavor, but I do sort through them at least twice a day to eat the ones that are the ripest and need to be eaten promptly. If this hunt-and-graze approach doesn’t appeal to you — or you have a specific use for your berries and have to save them for more than a day or two — keep them in the fridge. Just try to remember to pull them out and let them warm up a little before enjoying them. An hour on the counter should be sufficient to restore their gorgeous flavor. If you should somehow find yourself drowning in too many organic strawberries (not sure that’s possible!), you can rinse them, pat them dry, and then place them on a baking sheet in the freezer until they freeze solid and you can stash them in a ziploc freezer bag. Known in the industry as the IQF process — that’s “individually quick-frozen” — you can use the same technique at home to freeze small-sized fruits like whole berries and sliced stone fruits.
Strawberries with Almond-Cinnamon Dust
These couldn’t be simpler. Pour a little almond flour onto a flat plate and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Rinse the strawberries you’re going to eat promptly, then very gently pat with a towel. You want the strawberries to be a little damp so that the “dust” will cling to them, but you don’t want them dripping wet. Roll strawberries in the almond and cinnamon dust one at a time, gently pressing on the berry to encourage the dust to stick. Serve immediately, sprinkling your serving plate with another dash of cinnamon if you’d like to add a bold accent to your presentation. Enjoy!
Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.