Spring brings us so many delights, and sweet and juicy strawberries are one of the most welcome. After months of eating heartier apples and pears, strawberries finally begin popping up at the market, ringing in the first wave of berry season and the promise of warm days to come.
Rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, strawberries are grown in all 50 U.S. states so eat these little healthy gems locally. You’ll find them all year round, but peak season is April to July, and that’s when they’ll taste their best.
How to choose
If you can, pick your own strawberries—they’ll be remarkable. At the market, look for brightly coloured, firm and plump strawberries that are small in size. The smaller ones are actually sweeter than the jumbo berries. Buy them with their green caps attached. Keep in mind that strawberries don’t ripen any more after they’re picked, so skip any with green or yellow areas; they can be sour.
How to store
Don’t wash or remove the green tops on strawberries until you are ready to eat them. Keep in a moisture-free container for no more than 2 to 3 days to preserve their flavour and nutritional content. When ready to eat, wash gently in cool water and lay out on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
How to use
In-season strawberries make a perfect snack just as they are, but the berries bring a touch of sweetness to so many desserts, salads and vinaigrettes. Most of us know that strawberries pair beautifully with rhubarb and chocolate, but they’re also amazing drizzled with balsamic vinegar and tossed with tomatoes or goat cheese.
Strawberries shine in these Individual Strawberry Cheesecakes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote.