Strawberry season is nearing and we know what’s going to happen: tarts, pies, shortcakes, and salads are on the menu!
However, some say that this sweet and tart berry should be prepared right before cooking them or mixing it with fresh greens and other fruits to maintain its freshness and prevent the possibility of degradation.
Can it be sliced ahead of time or will this ruin it quick?
If you want a definitive answer, you’ve come to the right place.
When you slice strawberries in advance, the shelf life gets considerably shortened. If these are not consumed within an hour or two, these will wilt, become mushy, and will be hard to eat as is. However, proper storage will save these sweet and tart berries.
1. Store in the fridge for an hour or two
If you want to eat this as fresh as possible but just want to prep early, this is the best way to go.
• After rinsing the fruits in a colander under the tap, place all the pieces in the tray and pat dry.
• Hull or remove the leafy part on top of each piece.
• Place the berries in a bowl, making sure each piece is dry. Cover the bowl with cling film.
• Take out from the chiller after an hour or two and slice according to your recipe.
2. Store in the fridge for a whole day
Good up to 24 hours, this is the best tip if you’re planning to put these in a salad the next day or just snack on it.
• Wash the fruits in running water then pat each dry.
• Hull each strawberry and halve each lengthwise. You can cut these up any other way you desire.
It is best to discard bruised parts because these will cause further wilting of the fruit.
• Put all these in a zip lock or any plastic container, making sure that each piece is relatively dry. Make sure there is very little air inside the container before sealing it.
• Keep inside the fridge for up to 24 hours. Use immediately after you take it out.
3. Store in the Freezer
This can be stored for a whole year and be used in smoothies, jams, and pie filling. Do take note that the color will fade and flavor will be diminished after six months.
• After washing and drying the fruits with a paper towel, hull and slice these according to your liking.
• Place in a container, making sure there is a bit of a headspace (about an inch) between the fruits and the lid. Strawberries tend to expand inside the freezer.
• Date the container so you know how long it has been stored.
• Take it out when you need it. Defrost for a few minutes or put these straight into a pot to simmer.
4. Sprinkle with sugar then keep in the freezer
This will also last for a whole year. The difference is the flavor and color will be maintained longer when sugar is added to it.
• Wash, dry, hull, and slice the strawberries in half.
• Place in a bowl, sprinkle white sugar over it, and carefully mix all together. 10 oz of strawberries will need a quarter of sugar.
• After a minute or two, remove the syrup that pooled at the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the halved pieces in a plastic container, making sure there is a bit of headroom, before covering it with a lid and putting it inside the freezer.
Keeping Your Sliced Strawberry as Fresh as Possible
Mis En Place, the meticulous preparation of all that is needed in a particular dish, is a very important kitchen skill that is done hours before actual cooking takes place.
You can now include strawberries in the list of foods that can be readied way ahead of time because you now have several ways to store them properly.
Here are additional tips which could help:
• Separate the bruised, mushy ones
More often than not, it’s the pieces on top of the container that looks beautifully red and plump. The ones at the bottom are worse for wear.
It’s best to slice the darkened, squished parts off because these will disintegrate further in the freezer. If you don’t want to waste those parts, use them in a smoothie!
• Use a Vinegar bath!
Instead of just washing these under the tap, soak everything in a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar. The vinegar gets rid of the bacteria which may cause faster disintegration of the strawberry.
• Do an ice water soak.
If your chilled berries look slightly sad and wilted after they stay in the fridge and you want to use them in a salad, try soaking these in ice water for 20 minutes.
This hack won’t work with completely bruised or moldy ones so don’t even try that.
• Try to store the fruits hulled but unsliced.
To be honest, hulling is the most time-consuming part of prepping this. Storing it this way will keep it fresher longer.