BY: CHRISTINE PATRICK
COUNTY EXTENSION AGENT
The time of year for fresh strawberries is here. One of the first fruits of spring, the fresh red berries can now be found at roadside stands and in all the supermarkets at bargain prices.
Strawberries are an absolutely superb addition to a healthy diet. They are naturally low in calories—approximately 22 calories per half-cup serving. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant in the body along with being necessary for collagen formation. Ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit. So, enjoy your berries this season!
Here are some tips for selecting and storing your strawberries:
· It is best to freeze or preserve strawberries on the same day they are harvested. The freshest berry provides the best end product, whether it’s preserves, jam, or jelly.
· Select fully ripened strawberries with deep red color and fresh-looking caps (the leafy green end.) Strawberries do NOT continue to ripen after they have been picked. They might get redder, but they won’t get sweeter.
· Handle with care. To prevent bruising this delicate fruit, store berries in the refrigerator in single layers in shallow pans. Also, when picking your own berries, avoid stacking the basket too deep as the weight will bruise the berries on the bottom.
· At the farm, pick berries by breaking the stem rather than tugging the body of the berry.
Not only will this keep the cap intact, but it also prevents damage from overzealous squeezing.
· If purchasing berries from the grocery store or produce stand, look for containers free of juice stains which may indicate overripe or spoiled berries.
· Just before you are ready to use them is the time to wash the berries and remove the caps.
Caps prevent water from soaking into the berries and diluting the flavor or changing the texture. Do not soak the berries.
· An average of 1 pound of fresh berries makes one pint of frozen berries.
· Keep your strawberries cool. Do not leave strawberries in a hot car with the windows rolled up. The berry’s surface will become tough, dark, and leathery, which is a sad waste of good fruit.
Strawberry Fig Preserves
3 cups mashed figs
2 package (3 ounces each) strawberry gelatin
3 cups sugar
Sterilize canning jars.
Wash, peel, and mash figs. Place figs and sugar in a large pan and bring to boil. Lower heat and continue to boil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids—process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
8 cups strawberry juice
4 cups sugar
Sterilize canning jars. Wash and cap strawberries. Crush and add 1 cup water to 1-quart berries. Cook slowly for 15 minutes, strain, measure, and bring to a boil. When it boils vigorously, add sugar. Boil rapidly until the consistency of honey. Pour into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
For even more strawberry tips, check out Clemson University’s Home and Garden Information Center website at http://hgic.clemson.edu and look for fact sheet #3537.
NOTICE: Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status, and is an equal opportunity employer.
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer
Christine Patrick, Clemson Extension EFNEP Agent With the flu bearing down on South Carolina, we are all looking for ways […]
Christine Patrick, County Extension Agent Enjoy a healthful guilt-free holiday by modifying the recipes for some of your favorite holiday […]
Christine Patrick, County Extension Agent Leftovers can be just leftovers, or you can jazz things up and turn them into […]