Strawberries Are Here

Winter is over and Georgia Strawberries are here!

After one of the coldest winters in a very long time, Georgia Strawberries are ready for the pickin’! Strawberries are one of the first “fruity” signs that winter is over…and there is nothing better than biting into a juicy, red, vine-ripe Georgia strawberry to help get you out of those winter blues!

To find a you pick operation, road side stand or recipes for fresh Georgia grown strawberries, search our “Where Can I Pick, Buy Tour?”

Tips when you pick your own Georgia Strawberries:

  1. Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose strawberries that are fully ripened. They should have bright red color, a natural shine and fresh looking green caps.
  2. While most You-Pick operations will have complete hand washing facilities, bring hand sanitizer wipes just in case.
  3. Sunscreen! An afternoon picking strawberries is usually a great time outdoors, but it’s also a great time for sunburns if you’re not careful.
  4. Pack a lunch and water. Call the You-Pick operation to find out what they offer. Most will have a picnic area and even serve lunch if you get hungry.
  5. If you have multiple family members, bring a permanent marker or labels to identify everyone’s containers.
  6. To help with transporting your strawberries back home, bring a large box or container to pack everyone’s containers in.
  7. Supervision for children. Kids will have a great time picking their own strawberries and adults need to make sure they do it safely. Kids must stay in the designated areas with ripe berries and any food should stay out of the field.

Tips when you get your Georgia Strawberries home:

  1. Do Not Rinse Strawberries until you are ready to eat them or using them in cooking.
  2. Before using or storing, sort through the strawberries and separate the soft ones from the firm, fully ripe berries. Discard any mushy or spoiled berries.
  3. Keep the berries cool in the refrigerator crisper drawers in loosely covered containers or store them in a colander to allow cold air to circulate around them.
  4. Remove them from any plastic bag as soon as you get home.
  5. Remove the green stem caps from strawberries only after washing. This helps to prevent water from diluting the flavor. Then pat dry with a paper towel.
  6. To keep strawberries from absorbing large quantities of water (and diluting the flavor) when washing them, place in a salad spinner to remove excess water.

If you can’t eat all the strawberries before they get too soft you have several options.

Strawberries can be frozen, jellied, jammed and even made into salsa! The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s So Easy to Preserve, 5th Edition is the definitive reference on safe food preservation. It’s a 375-page book with over 185 tested recipes, along with step by step instructions and in-depth information for both the new and experienced food preserver. For more information or to order a copy to go, www.uga.edu/setp.

Freezing Strawberries is so easy and it allows you to keep that fresh strawberry flavor all year long. http://whatscookingamerica.net/StrawberryHints.htm offers the following tips.