Happy National Strawberry Day

Where do strawberries come from?

Many people don’t know that Strawberries aren’t actually berries at all. They come from the rose family and the seeds on the out side of them are the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside each one. Strawberries are one of the only fruits that can be grown in every state and they are one of the first fruits to ripen in the Spring. There are over 600 varieties to choose from. A Smaller strawberry has more flavor and a larger strawberry is watery and not as sweet.

My kids and I love a bowl of this vanilla yogurt topped with granola and fresh strawberries

Growing Strawberries

I grew up on a small family farm where we grew every fruit and veggie under the sun and I’d like to share a few tips I learned along the way. Strawberries are really easy to grow but hard to kill though in the winter you’ll want to bury your plants under a small pile of straw to protect them. Then rake off the straw in the spring when the plants show new growth. You can generally expect full grown fruit within a few months, depending on the season. Just be sure to pick them when they have fully ripened because they will not ripen any further, like other fruits, once they are plucked.

Strawberry Yogurt with fresh strawberries

Cleaning and Storing Strawberries

Once you have picked them be sure to store them in a moisture proof container. If you wash them first, be sure to store them in a vented container so they can stay dry. They grow mold very quickly and will go bad even quicker the more moisture they accumulate. So don’t stack to many on top of each other either because they bruise easily, which also speeds up the turning point.

Some people get technical with hulling their strawberries but it’s not really that complicated. Just pull off the stem or cut it with a paring knife. If you cut it on an angle and circle around just the white tip it will pop right out and you’ll save more of the delicious fruit. Strawberries also freeze well and will last for several months in a zip lock bag.

PMGK’s Berry Syrup is to die for

What to do with your Strawberries

By now you may be wondering what recipes you can use these yummy Strawberries for. I love them fresh all by themselves. My kids will put them in a bowl with yogurt and granola. They ask for this often as an after school snack. The girls and I will put them in our morning smoothies. We always make sure to have bag of frozen berries in the freezer just for this. I saved the best for last. PMGK has the most wonderful berry syrup recipe that we use strawberries for and it is my favorite to put over pancakes or waffles.