This season's crop of strawberries is the first crop of strawberries that Eater's Guild has produced. Lee and Laurie planted the strawberries in the sandy soil on the hill three years ago, but the plants did not turn out much fruit on the second year. They chose a June-bearing cultivar that is sweet, and tends to mature at a medium size. We use the strawberries regularly in the field. They are situated between the beds of asparagus, and on hot days, the strawberries serve as a wonderful reprieve. The Romans, too, considered strawberries to be a remedy for fainting, and melancholy generally.
Storing fresh strawberries is challenging. Our strawberries tend to go through different "phases" as they age in our fridge. No, they are not all stages of decomposition. The way we start off is by placing the strawberries in a sturdy tupperware container that is lined with cloth. Any cloth will do. Take a strip off an old tee shirt if there's nothing better handy. This storage technique protects strawberries from their two greatest enemies, moisture (the fabric whisks it away) and pressure (which ruptures the cells, releasing moisture). You can almost get a week out of strawberries in this way, but at some point, they begin to soften. That's when we bake a shortcake and chop the strawberries down. Chopped, the strawberries can stand another three days or so before they start to get questionable. Of course, you can make preserves, too, but perhaps some of you would be better suited to share the best technique for that with me than I would be with you?
Posted by Laurie @ 10:58 AM EDT