Food Friday Tips: Strawberry Picking

Jun 18, 2014

  Dale-Ila Riggs is owner of The Berry Patch in Stephentown, New York, and is president of the New York State Berry Growers Association. She can be heard on Food Friday!

For the best flavor, pick fully ripe fruit.  A strawberry with a white tip may turn red after picking but it will not get sweeter.

Always leave the green “cap” on the strawberry.  The berry will last longer in your refrigerator if you do.

Pinch the stem of the strawberry above the cap to release it from the plant.  Pulling on the soft berry will bruise the berry and it will not last as long.

The biggest berries are the first ones produced on the plant.  If you want large berries, go picking early in the berry season.  If you want smaller, sweeter berries, go picking later in the season.

Strawberries like to hide under leaves, strewn throughout the middle of the plant (they used to be called strewberries).  To find the best berries, you will need to get down on your hands and knees, methodically move the leaves around, and find the nicest berries hiding in the middle.

Pick in the morning, while the air temperatures and berry temperatures are cool.  Picking during the heat of the day is not good for you or for the berries!

After picking, keep your berries cool.  If you are not going to eat the berries on the same day that you pick them, put them in the refrigerator.

Berries taste best at room temperature.  If you have refrigerated your berries, let them warm up for about an hour before serving.

Enjoy fresh local berries while they are in season.  The season is short, so don’t delay in getting out to your local berry farm!