Strawberries aren’t the easiest to keep. It’s not uncommon for this fruit to arrive on our doorstep with some bruises, if not with signs of spoil. But I guess we can neither blame them nor the farmers (or whoever packed it) since the winding ride from the mountain provinces can even leave humans a little shaken. So whenever we buy, we do a few things to not let them go to waste.
First things first
Moisture is the usual culprit for spoiling because it creates the perfect environment for molds to grow. That’s why some of the containers come with little holes to keep them as dry as possible. So when you get them, quickly take them out of their cases, especially if you see some “sweat” on the surface.
A thorough clean
Strawberry is infamously on top of the “Dirty Dozen”, meaning that farmers use a lot of pesticides on it as it grows. Not to mention, soil can easily cling to your berries given their living conditions, so give them a good soak before rinsing under cold water.
DIY cleaning agent
What you’ll need:
A large bowl
½ cup of white vinegar
2 ½ cups of water
Mix the solution in a large bowl and soak the strawberries for a few minutes (we usually do 5 minutes), drain thoroughly and set them on paper towel or a clean cloth and air dry.
This will help remove grime from your berries (they’ll fall off to the bottom of your bowl), destroy bacteria, and mold spores.
What you’ll need:
Kurin for fruits and vegetables
A bowl of water
Fill a bowl with tap water, add the strawberries and spray Kurin for fruits and vegetables on the surface. You may also pour 1 cup of Kurin for every 5-30 cups of tap water. As we mentioned in our previous blog, Kurin helps remove unwanted residue (from pesticides, fertilisers, and any dirt that got stuck on your fruits and vegetables without using another chemical).
Whenever we get the chance to order strawberries, we try to buy a couple of boxes since 1. our little boy can easily finish a kilo on his own 2. to make the most of the shipping fee. So after they’re all washed, we sort them into 3 groups.
When you see mold–even if it’s just a tiny one–on the surface, throw it out. Strawberries have soft flesh so when you see those white fluffy things on them, it most probably have penetrated the entire fruit, (together with its close friend, bacteria) even though they can’t be seen with a naked eye. Needless to say, it can make you sick.
Overly mushy ones need to be thrown out as well.
2. Bruised and overripe
We save these ones for smoothies and puree (for later use). Remove the bruised parts (they tend to have a different taste), and throw them in a blender.
For smoothies, a cup of strawberries will be great with 1 banana. Tip: use condensed milk to cancel out the tartness of the berries.
We puree the others without anything (its natural juice will blend it out) and store them in the freezer in small containers. Our toddler’s food cups work perfectly here because they hold just the right amount for a serving and won’t take too much space. You may also use them in syrups, cheesecakes, pies, and more.
3. Perfectly ripe
We keep the ripe ones in the fridge and eat them right away. We also use them as salad ingredient.
Leave the unripe ones in a colander to make sure it doesn’t accumulate moisture, put a tomato in the middle and cover it up with a paper bag (but leave a small opening for air to flow out). The tomato will help ripen the strawberries. Ones they’ve turned red, move them to the fridge.
We hope these tips help you in your next haul of Strawberries. For those asking, we buy ours online from individuals who help farmers sell their crops at a fair price. For this batch, we got them from Sadiwa, an online store that started out as a donation drive and has now turned into a continuous effort to help Cordillera farmers. You may order from them through www.facebook.com/pg/SadiwaPH and Instagram @_sadiwa