If a McIntosh apple is different from a Granny Smith, so it is with strawberries. Many varieties are cultivated, Kent (large strawberries perfect for decoration), Jewel (bright red), Bounty (dark red), Veestar (one of the first in early June), Seascape (autumn strawberry), Chambly (easy to remove stems), Redcoat (excellent in jam)... Producers will fill you in with pleasure.
Fragile, strawberries don’t like the heat, humidity or shocks they are exposed to during transport or excessive handling. Recover damaged strawberries by adding them to compote, jam, in a smoothie or coulis or to garnish a pie or pudding.
Take strawberries out of the fridge one hour before serving. Don’t remove the stems before soaking them in water… this will make them lose their flavourful taste.
A tray of strawberries (also called a flat) contains on average 225 strawberries divided into 12 baskets. Plastic or wood, each basket has one-pint or 2-cup (500-ml) and holds about 15 strawberries.
Unwashed, stems on, well-spaced, strawberries can keep two to three days in the fridge. If you prepare them in advance, spray them with lemon juice or sprinkle with sugar to keep their colour. You can also freeze them: after being thoroughly cleaned and drained, place them side by side on a sheet. Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag until you need to use them.
Calculate about 1 cup (250 ml) of strawberries or 8 medium strawberries per person, totalling only 45 calories.
An average strawberry has 200 small “seeds,” called achenes. This is a great word for Scrabble lovers to hold up their sleeve.
The number of large strawberries you need to eat to obtain as much as much vitamin C as a California navel orange.
PICK YOUR OWN?
Do you want to pick your own strawberries? Look for a farm near you that offers a self-pick option. www.fraisesetframboisesduquebec.com
STRAWBERRIES FOR ADULTS
Place sliced strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar or brown sugar, add a few lemon thyme leaves (or chopped basil) and drizzle with limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur. Wait patiently for a few hours before treating yourself to some freshness.