Strawberry Farm Picking | What to look for, When to clean them & How to store them
Looking for a fun and delicious springtime activity? Consider u-pick strawberry picking! After you pick your berries, if you are not sure what to do with fresh picked strawberries, keep reading!
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Whether you're a seasoned picker or a first-timer, strawberry picking is a fun and exciting way to get outside and enjoy the fresh, juicy berries. So grab your family and friends and head out to one of the local strawberry farms for a day of sun, fun, and of course, delicious strawberries!
Strawberry farm picking has been one of the most fun family activities I have done since moving to the south. Before moving to North Carolina I did not know that “you pick strawberries” picking was a thing.
But the whole family loves strawberry picking in Raleigh from start to finish. Probably because the rewards are pretty sweet!
Last year when we went strawberry picking, after we got home, I kept some of the berries out to snack on and froze the rest. And by froze, I mean I just put them in a ziplock bag and stuck them in the freezer.
The berries all froze together in a big clump. I thought there has to be a better way.
And there is!
So I am going to share with you the right way to freeze your strawberries so you don’t have a hunk of berries to chop away at when you are ready to use them.
But first, I’ll share a couple of tips for getting the best, sweetest, juiciest berries when you go.
When is strawberry picking season?
In general, the strawberry picking season in the United States varies depending on the region and climate.
It can start as early as mid-April in the southern states but typically starts in late May or early June and can last until late July or early August. But again that is dependent on the location.
It's best to check with local farms and markets for specific information about the strawberry picking season in your area. If you are strawberry picking in North Carolina, I compiled a list of strawberry picking farms in Raleigh for you to check out.
Tips For Strawberry farm Picking
Color is Important
The best berries are the ones that have a full bright red color. Those that have green or white spots are not fully ripened. And once picked, they will not ripe further.
Contrarily, those that are too red, like a deep dark red, are over ripened. These will usually be mushy in texture and less firm. You will want to leave those as well.
Let’s Talk Texture
So this is important too. If a berry is red but feels mushy, you don’t want it. It is over ripened and when eaten or used in recipes, it may change its overall composure.
You want a medium berry. Those that are too small may have too many seeds, and those that are larger may be more hollow. Meaning they appear to give you more on the outside but not so on the inside.
what to do with fresh picked strawberries
Cleaning your berries After You Have Gone Strawberry Picking
When you come home, you can put the berries in the fridge. If you are not planning to use them in the first day or so, you may opt to freeze them.
To clean fresh picked strawberries, follow these steps:
Fill a large bowl with cold water.
Place the strawberries in the bowl and let them soak for a few minutes.
Gently rub each strawberry with your fingers to remove any dirt or debris.
Remove the strawberries from the water and place them in a colander to drain.
Rinse the strawberries under cold running water to remove any remaining dirt or residue.
Pat the strawberries dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
Remove the stems by either twisting them off or using a small knife to cut them off.
Now your fresh picked strawberries are clean and ready to be enjoyed!
How To Freeze Your Fresh Picked Strawberries
Don’t be like me. Don’t just lump them up and freeze them. The juice from the berries will freeze and essentially mold them together.
Instead, lay the strawberries out on sheet pans and freeze them.
Freezing fresh picked strawberries is a great way to preserve them and enjoy them all year round.
To freeze fresh picked strawberries, follow these simple steps:
Start by washing the strawberries under cold running water and removing the stems.
Pat them dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
Place the strawberries on a baking sheet and freeze them for a few hours, until they are solid.
Transfer the frozen strawberries into a freezer-safe bag or container, removing any excess air.
Label the container with the date and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you are ready to use the frozen strawberries, simply remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can use them in smoothies, desserts, or jams, and enjoy the sweet taste of fresh picked strawberries all year round!
And that’s it my friends! That is how you get the freshest berries and then preserve them after strawberry picking.
If you want some recipe inspiration for your strawberries, check out this list of 25+ Strawberry Recipes.
If you are located in or visiting North Carolina, here are the best places to go strawberry picking.