Strawberry is a versatile fruit used in every part of the world. It is used to prepare some kitchen dishes, in salad bowls, cream cheese, and many drinks. Hence, everyone is always looking forward to the strawberry season.
Besides rhubarb, strawberries are uniquely known as the first fruit to get ripe in the spring and early months of summer. It is indeed possible for strawberries to be available all year round. But, they are sweeter, juicer, and fresher in their season.
So, when are strawberries at their peak? Let us find out.
When are strawberries in season?
In some countries, strawberries usually pop out in June. It is totally impossible to go shopping for strawberries in June and find out that they are not in season. The most popular varieties of this fruit are called June-bearing strawberries but, it doesn’t mean that strawberries are only available in June in every country. June-bearing strawberries grow in North America. Some types of June-bearing strawberries include sparkle(Malwina), Honeoye(yambu), and earliglow(galleta).
In zones where the climate is cool, strawberries can be available in June. And in warmer zones, strawberries can ripen sooner, say as early as late February.
If you have a strawberry farm situated in cooler climes, you may have to wait for a longer time to be able to harvest. If you are lucky enough to grow your berries in warmer climes, you can start enjoying your harvest as early as February, instead of June.
It is also possible to see them available in some farm stores during the fall.
Strawberry season differs based on regions and variety. So, do not begin to question why your strawberries are not ready for harvesting.
What is the timeline for harvesting strawberries?
Are you wondering when you can start harvesting your berries? Well, I am too.
If you have a strawberry farm, it is best to observe if there are signs of ripeness before you harvest. You definitely want to reap the fruit of your labor and do not want to ruin your expectations by rushing to harvest. We advise you to check properly before picking your berries up if you want them juicy, fresh, and sweet.
Usually, strawberries are ready for harvesting around four to six weeks after they produce
flowers. So, the first tip is to keep observing till you see the first white blooms appear. This will help you know how long you will have to wait before harvesting.
Another amazing tip for picking strawberries when it is time to harvest is to take note of its stem. The stem that supports the strawberry is small and can be pinched using your fingers. You should pinch the bud or leafy cap that sits on the top of the fruit so that the fruit’s growth is not hindered. Pick at the stem and leave the green leaf still intact on the berry so it maintains its juicy content.
How can you tell if strawberries are ripe?
The time for strawberries to get ripe differs and depends on some factors like location. A good way to know if your strawberry is ripe and ready for harvest is to observe a few indicators. Want to know how to pick the best strawberries? Read on!!
For instance, when the fruit color changes from green to vibrant red, that is one indicator that it is ripe. Also, check for green caps on the top of the fruit. If the caps are brown or shriveled, it is not ripe and wouldn’t taste so good.
Another indicator is to try squeezing the strawberries gently to check for firmness after they turn red. If the strawberry is red and firm, leave it on the vine for 24 hours and go back to check. Leaving it on the vine without checking again can make the fruit more prone to rats and other pests.
If the fruit is red and supple or soft, it is ripe.
You can also rely on these indicators when selecting strawberries at a grocery store or a farm store. The first tip is to check the color of the berry and the second is its firmness. After carrying out a thorough check, you can proceed to select.
How to keep strawberries fresh?
You just picked strawberries from your farm or purchased them at a grocery store. And you are wondering how to keep the strawberries fresh?
Immediately you have fresh strawberries in hand, a smart first step will be to protect them from sunlight then select the bruised from the unbruised. The bruised can be eaten right away or used in smoothies, salads, parfaits, strawberry cream cheese, or a cold glass of yogurt.
The unbruised strawberries can last a few days in the refrigerator but, they can lose taste very fast. So, the quicker you consume them, the better. They are best consumed within 2 to 3 days after picking or harvesting.
It is best to not rinse or remove the stems from the berry till when you want to consume it. This will help keep its juicy content intact.
When should you wash strawberries?
Every part of the strawberry fruit is edible, except the caps. Rinse strawberries in a clean bowl of water and get rid of their caps before eating. Once ripe, they become soft and as a result, you have to wash them gently- you don’t want to get them bruised or smashed.
You can wash and put them in the refrigerator. One tip I love giving is to take the washed strawberry out of the fridge for at least 20 minutes before making use of them. This will help bring them to room temperature and boost their sweetness/flavor.
June is peak strawberry season in countries with cooler climes but most strawberry fruits are available in late February when the clime is warm.