- Veestar and Annapolis, the earliest-ripening strain available at Pick Your Own operations.
- Cavendish, Governor Simcoe, Kent, Startime, G19, MicMac and Honey Eye are popular mid-season varieties for both Pick Your Own and retail sales.
Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium and fibre as well as being low in calories.
Seeds found in Europe show strawberries existed in prehistoric times. The wild fruit was originally picked for its medicinal value. The leaves were boiled and made into poultices, the fruit prescribed as a remedy for “the redness and heat of the face.”
Jacques Cartier saw “vast patches” of wild strawberries along the St. Lawrence River in 1534. Cultivation began in 17th century England and by the 1800′s in North America.
Call your Pick Your Own destination or the Berry Hotline before leaving to be sure a good supply of quality berries is available.
To pick, gently hold the stem between thumb and forefinger. Carefully pinch and break the stem to release the berry without squeezing the berry itself.
Look for berries that are completely red with no white or green spots and have a sweet smell. Avoid crushed berries and be wary of berries packed in juice-stained containers. The size of the berries is not important. All strawberries large and small are equally sweet and juicy.
Storing and Preparing
Remove any damaged berries as soon as possible. Trim damaged areas and use in sauces, ice creams or in baking where appearance doesn’t matter.
Store berries in the refrigerator with hulls intact, unwashed, and lightly covered in a single layer. Use within three to six days. Just before serving, gently rinse under cold running water (avoid soaking because the strawberries will absorb water and lose flavour), gently pat dry with paper towels, and hull.
Strawberries may be frozen whole or sliced, with or without sugar, for up to twelve months. Before using, thaw at room temperature.
To freeze without sugar, place in a single layer on a large tray or cookie sheet. Freeze until firm (about one hour), pack in freezer bags drawing off as much air as possible, and seal.
To freeze with sugar, pack in rigid containers, sprinkling sugar between each layer. For every 4 cups (1 L) whole washed and hulled strawberries, allow 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar; for the same amount of sliced strawberries, allow 3/4 cup (175 mL) of sugar.