If you get the opportunity, picking your own strawberries is a rewarding experience. Going out the fields selecting each berry at its absolute peak…, yeah right. For most people the u-pick option is only a delusion. The best that they can hope for is going to Detroit’s Eastern market early enough to get to the berries before they are picked over.
When selecting strawberries, looks matter. Avoid strawberries with excessive white or green, they will NOT ripen further once picked. If the flesh seems bruised or dark red, the shelf life will be greatly diminished. (These are good for purees and sauces). The large ones look tempting, but do not be fooled, the really large strawberries have a diluted flavor that creates an anticlimactic eating experience. Your best bet is a medium strawberry that is deep red and plump in appearance.
The green top should be attached and look healthy, brown tops are a sign that the berries have been off the vine for a while. It is best to keep the tops attached until the berries are to be consumed. Early removal of the stem shortens their lifespan.
When berries are in an enclosed container, the top berries tend to be the nicest, with the less than desirable below. Even the closest examination of a container cannot prevent crushed berries. Separate the crushed and damaged berries as they will cause the healthy ones to break down prematurely.
The healthiest way to consume strawberries is raw. Processing the strawberries diminishes the benefits. Make sure that you lightly rinse the strawberries, soaking the strawberries will cause them to be “water logged” and they will no longer have that “garden fresh flavor”
This is one of the easiest ways to utilize fresh strawberries. Slice or quarter the strawberries, place them in a bowl and toss them lightly with sugar and a pinch of salt. Within a half hour the strawberry juice has mixed with the sugar and has created a nice sauce. Pour over a sponge cake or fresh baked biscuits and top with whipped cream. (For an easy shortcut, use a Twinkie, the sponge cake and whipped cream are provided in one efficient unit).
Red Wine Braised
Cuisine restaurant in Detroit braises their strawberries in red wine and sugar to accompany their duck and foie gras dishes. They place the strawberries in a pot and cover half way with red wine. They add some sugar ( A quarter cup of sugar for every two cups of berries) and simmer for a half hour while stirring occasionally. The resulting product is a perfect accompaniment for savory foods.
One of the most beloved methods is to dip them in a sweet sauce or granulated sugar. If you keep it simple you will have the best strawberry experience possible.
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