Want to enjoy juicy sweet strawberries, find out when strawberries are in season where you live. They aren’t around long so learn some tricks to make strawberries last, so you don’t miss out on a single berry.
Every Spring, I anxiously await strawberry season. That means I can make strawberry chiffon pie, strawberry cake or just have some to put in a spinach salad. If you’re not lucky enough to be close to a strawberry farm, then it’s helpful to know when strawberries in your area are going to be ripe so you can get the freshest ones available.
Table of contents
- Strawberry growing season
- Types of Strawberries
- How to choose the ripest strawberries
- How to make strawberries last longer
- How to freeze strawberries
- How do you remove the stem from a strawberry
- FAQs and tips
Strawberry growing season
Strawberries can be found year round in the US with 80% of all strawberries coming from California. The peak season there is from February through October, but due to the varied climate in this State you can see them From January through December. So if you’re on the West coast you’ll get fresh strawberries all year round.
The fresh berries are harvested and packaged in the field and placed in refrigerated trucks so they get to most places within 3-4 days. You can find out more information about California strawberries at the California Strawberry Commission.
The second longest growing season is in Florida where strawberry season is from November through April. The Florida Growers Association has lots of helpful information about Florida strawberries.
While California and Florida produce the most strawberries, you’ll also find them in New York, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. You can find them in other states, they’ll just have a shorter growing season, it all depends on the climate and type of strawberry plants.
If you want the freshest strawberries go to your local farmers market to get the sweetest berries. For most states in the South the growing season starts in April and goes through June. In North Carolina we can see local berries in April but can get them from South Carolina even earlier.
For cooler climates, you won’t see local strawberries until June but they will last until the end of the summer. For more information on when they’ll be ripe in your State, check out this seasonal guide.
Types of Strawberries
There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries in the US, all taste a little different, the most common is a June bearing variety. In general the larger the strawberry variety the sweeter it will be, while the smaller types are known to have a more intense flavor. If you want to try to grow your own, here is a website that will give you all the information you need to pick the type of plants that will flourish in your environment.
How to choose the ripest strawberries
Strawberries do not ripen after they’ve been picked so you want to choose strawberries that are bright red in color with fresh green caps so that you can make the sweetest cobblers or crisps. Pull up the leaves and make sure you don’t see any white, you want the red color to go all the way up to the stem.
If you want to pick your own berries, they should be completely red and have a little give to them. The stem should be bright green. Of course if you’re picking your own, you can just taste them as you pick to make sure you’re choosing the sweetest berries. 🥰
Now that you have the sweetest berries around, how can you make them last until you’re ready to make your next batch of strawberry jam. Left on the counter, they will only last two days. The reason is that berries carry mold spores that can spread through a basket in no time and cause them to go bad very quickly.
However, you can extend their shelf life with just a couple of tricks.
How to make strawberries last longer
Read on for information about how long strawberries last in the fridge and several steps you can take to make them last longer!
Keep strawberries fresh for 1-2 days
If you can eat your fresh berries in a day or two, remove the berries from the container and throw out any rotten or moldy ones. To keep them from bruising each other, lay them flat or gently place them back in the container they came in.
Keep strawberries fresh for 1 week
If you think you can eat them in a week, remove the stem and place them in a paper towel lined container with a lid. Place them in the refrigerator and they should last about a week. Wash them right before eating.
How can you keep strawberries fresh for 2 weeks?
So if your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you bought more berries than you can possibly eat, all is not lost. You can extend their shelf life for about two weeks by taking these simple steps for cleaning strawberries.
Step 1: Fill up a large bowl with 5 ½ cups of water and a ½ cup of white vinegar. Place the strawberries, stems and all, in the vinegar bath and let them soak for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Remove from the vinegar bath and rinse in a colander. Place them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet and allow them to dry for about 20 minutes. Moisture is not your friend, so make sure they are dry before you store them.
Step 3: Line a resealable container with paper towels and add the dry strawberries. Refrigerate.
You might be wondering why vinegar. The vinegar kills the mold spores on the strawberries which is what causes them to go bad so quickly. The photo below is of the same strawberries (minus a few I ate) after two whole weeks!
The strawberries do not taste like vinegar and in fact they will last even longer than two weeks, they’ll just start to deteriorate.
How to freeze strawberries
Strawberries are super easy to freeze to use for scones or biscuits or smoothies. All you have to do is hull them and place them in a freezer bag. They should stay fresh for about two months.
How do you remove the stem from a strawberry
You don’t need a fancy gadget to remove the stem from a strawberry, you can easily use a knife. However, if you’re going to removing a lot of stems and you want pretty strawberries a strawberry huller comes in handy. I use a very inexpensive simple one to pinch out the stems.
FAQs and tips
No, strawberries do not ripen after they’re picked, so make sure you have the ripest ones with no white on the top.
To slice strawberries, first remove the stem with a huller or knife and turn it so the point is facing up, then just slice the strawberries into even slices.
Strawberries are sweetest at room temperature. However, if you need them to last for more than two days, you should store them in a paper towel lined container in the fridge.
Yes, you should wash strawberries before eating them because pesticides are used on most strawberry plants. However, wait to wash them until right before eating.
The best way to eat fresh strawberries is at room temperature when they will have the most flavor.
Now that you know when to buy them and how to store them, you’re ready to make some fantastic desserts. Here are some of my favorite strawberry desserts.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Vinegar Wash for Strawberries
- Fresh Strawberries
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 5 ½ cups water
- Fill a large bowl with 5 ½ cups of water and add ½ cup of vinegar. Add strawberries and let soak for 5 minutes.
- Place strawberries in a colander and rinse with fresh water. Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes.
- Line a resealable container with paper towels. Place strawberries in the container and refrigerate.
- Strawberries will last about 2 weeks
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can substitute apple cider vinegar
- Make sure the strawberries are dry before placing them in the refrigerator.
- Do not remove the stems before putting them in the vinegar bath.
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Great tips Barbara. Thanks, and who knew you had so many strawberry recipes!!! Yum.
Barbara Curry says
If only I lived in California and could get them almost all year!