Join in on National Pick Strawberries Day

Fresh locally grown strawberries are ready at different times of the year depending on which part of the state you are located, but they they are usually available from late May and throughout the summer.

Pixabay public domain photo

Pixabay public domain photo

Did you know that the 20th of May each year is National Pick Strawberries Day? Don’t confuse this with National Strawberry Day which is February 27! It is unclear just when National Pick Strawberries Day started but it is one of over 1000 national days.

With the growing interest in buying and consuming locally grown foods this would be a great way to spend part of your day on Saturday, May 20 this year. You could pick some, eat some and preserve some.

The Michigan State University Extension website has lots of useful and interesting articles about strawberries from how to grow strawberries to how to use, store and preserve them. On MSU Extension’s website there is MI Fresh where you will find information on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including recommended varieties, storage, food safety and preserving techniques.

Whether you grow your own berries and pick from your patch or go to a “you pick” strawberry patch, there are three important tips about picking strawberries:

  • Always pick fully ripe berries. Strawberries don’t continue to ripen, they just continue to age.
  • Don’t get greedy by overfilling your containers. Strawberries are delicate and tender and bruise easily.
  • Freshly picked strawberries are best when consumed or preserved within one to two days.
Freezing strawberries is as easy as 1, 2 and 3
  1. Rinse them well using cool water and pat them dry with paper towels or a completely clean cloth towel.
  2. Take off the caps and place them in a single lay on cookie sheets or a similar type pan.
  3. As soon as the fruit is frozen, put the berries in the freezer containers or freezer bags and return to the freezer.

Freezing berries this way is called “tray freezing,” and the purpose is to make it easy to pour the frozen berries out of the container or bag. You can choose to freeze them without tray freezing but they will freeze together and then you will have to thaw and use the entire container.

One last tip: Rinse your berries just before eating them or getting ready to preserve them. Wet strawberries are much more likely to mold.

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