A summer favorite the world round, strawberries have captivated the palates of French Kings like Charles V, who had 5,000 strawberry plants in his garden at the Louvre as well as Native Americans who mixed crushed berries with cornmeal to make strawberry bread.
A member of the rose family, strawberries have a sweet, floral flavor that pairs well with chocolate, citrus, red wine and sweet vinegars. Far from being a guilty pleasure, these berries also contain more Vitamin C than oranges, high counts of folic acid and potassium, and ellagic acid – a cancer fighting compound. Strawberries are fragile to ship, delicate to grow and will only fully ripen on the vine. For that reason, they are at their best eaten straight from the field, warmed from the summer sun and slightly gritty with organic soil. Local berries in the store, or market, are a close second.
Red Tomato strawberry growers have been working steadily to eliminate organophosphate pesticides (OP’s) in their production. Our strawberry producers have also eliminated the use of another group of pesticides of concern: methyl bromide and methyl iodide.
When choosing strawberries, select only those that are plump and dark in color. Avoid berries with bruises, large green or white patches or moldy spots. Ripe, unwashed berries, can be covered loosely with plastic and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Be sure that they are not crowded in their container and that any soft berries are removed before storing. Before eating, bring the berries back to room temperature, rinse with cold water, and dry in a single layer on a clean towel.