Strawberries - the queen of all the berries! Its unsurpassed aroma and rich taste will not leave anyone indifferent. And besides the explosion of taste sensations, this wonderful berry is good for its high content of vitamin C and useful folic acid. Thanks to its regular consumption, you will not only enjoy gastronomic pleasure, but also strengthen your immunity.
Unfortunately, the time of ripening strawberries is very short, and to use this wonderful berry as long as possible, you should know how it can be kept fresh.
Which strawberries to pick for storage
Strawberries are very tender berries. It is easily damaged and instantly deteriorates, losing the wonderful taste and aroma. Given all this, you should carefully select the berries for storage.
- It is best to purchase strawberries directly from the supplier or pick your own. But even in these cases, you will not be insured against falling into the basket of damaged and sick specimens.
- Collect strawberries only in dry weather. It is better to do this in the morning after the night dew has dried.
- Ruthlessly discard the crumpled berries and fruits that have dark spots, as they will all the same instantly deteriorate, and even infect everyone else.
- It is not suitable to store too pale or overripe specimens with a fallen handle already fallen off.
- Collected or purchased fruits should be disassembled before putting into storage, removing all “suspicious” fruits. Any rot or mold you have not noticed on a single berry will instantly spread to all the others even when stored in the refrigerator.
How to extend the shelf life of fresh berries
Fresh berries can be stored in three main ways:
- in the fridge;
- in sugar;
- in the freezer.
Each of these methods has its own peculiarities and nuances that should be known before using it. Consider them in more detail.
The first method is applicable only if you plan to eat berries as soon as possible.
- In the refrigerator, strawberries can be stored for about 5 days at temperatures from 0 ° C to +2 ° C, at higher temperatures (up to +6 ° C) - about 3 days.
- Before putting the berry in storage, it is necessary to sort it out. It is strongly not recommended to wash them, as excess moisture will shorten the storage time by half. It is better to wash the strawberries just before eating.
- Selected berries should be placed on a plate or in a food container with “tails” down. The bottom should be covered with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Well, if the fruit will not come into contact with each other.
- The container can be covered from above with a napkin or cling film so that the berries lose less moisture. But then the stalk should be removed.
- It is convenient to store strawberries in a colander. Thus, you will save space in the refrigerator and at the same time allow all the berries to breathe. With this method of storage, try to stack berries loosely.
The second method is suitable for storing berries in the refrigerator and in the freezer.
- You need to chop the berries with a blender or wooden pulp, add granulated sugar to the resulting puree and mix everything until it is completely dissolved.
- The amount of sugar will depend on future storage conditions. If you plan to freeze the resulting mass, then 1 kg of berries will be enough to add 1 kg of sand. For cold storage, the ratio of berries and sugar should be 1: 2.
- If you plan to freeze strawberries, then you can not grind it to a state of mashed potatoes. It will be enough to cut the berries in small pieces and mix with the sugar until it is completely dissolved.
- The resulting mixture must be placed in food containers (for freezing) or in glass jars (for storage in the refrigerator).
- It is possible to store strawberries with sugar in the freezer for up to 1 year, and in the refrigerator for 6 months.
The third way will allow you to save the healthy berry until the next harvest and remember the taste of summer even during the winter frosts.
- In a freezer, properly frozen strawberries can retain their freshness, nutrients and vitamins for up to one year.
- Before freezing the berries should be sorted, cleaned of dust and debris. If desired, they can be washed, then thoroughly dried with a paper towel, but it is undesirable to do so without need. Peduncle before freezing must be removed.
- Before freezing strawberries, decide what you plan to use later for. On this will depend in what form it is better to freeze the fruit. If you want to use berries for cooking, it is more convenient to immediately cut them into pieces of the desired shape. For example, slices or cubes are suitable for decoration. For chocolate fondue berries are best left whole. For smoothies and cocktails, you can immediately freeze the berry puree.
- Whole berries or pieces should be laid out in a single layer on a flat plate or tray and placed in the freezer. If the refrigerator has a quick freeze function, use it. Strawberries frozen in this way will not constitute a single monolith, and you can always take the amount of food that you need at the moment.
- Frozen strawberries are divided into portions, put in food containers or special bags, close tightly and put in the freezer.
- You can store strawberries frozen in sugar syrup. To do this, boil the syrup, taking water and sugar in a 4: 1 ratio. At your request, the sugar concentration may be higher. It is necessary to pour the berries, placed in a container, with cooled syrup, and, after closing the lid, put them in the freezer. Please note that berries stored in this form will be much sweeter than natural ones.
- If you want to preserve the shape of the berries, but do not want excessive sweetness, you can freeze them in a syrup made from pectin. To do this, pectin powder should be boiled with boiling water in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. With this syrup, after it is cooled, berries are poured, placed in containers, closed and put into the freezer. Consider that pectin is the worst preservative than sugar.