My name is Joy and I have enjoyed picking strawberries at the farm for over ten years now. I always look forward to this time of year with great joy and excitement. If you are like me, you pick as many strawberries as you can fit in the refrigerator and then some. And then I go back a few times and do it again. This normally causes a small dilemma that perhaps you have as well. I always end up with a few mushy strawberries at the bottom of my bucket before I am able to use them. I have learned over time that it is totally my fault and not the fault of the berries. I lack planning. So, in an effort to clean up my act and plan this year I went in search of tips for caring for my strawberries.

Here are a few Washington Farms strawberry tips that should help you to avoid the mushy strawberry syndrome.

Handle berries gently.
On the drive home, keep berries cool and take them inside immediately. Do not leave them in the car! (I am so guilty of this one…grocery shopping on the way home is apparently a no, no!)
To store your berries for a day or two, store only one or two deep in a shallow container, covered in the refrigerator.
Refrigerate fresh strawberries in shallow containers as soon as you pick them. Wash berries in cold water only when you are ready to use them. Do not allow berries to soak.
Strawberries stored with the green caps on stay firm longer than those without the caps.
Freeze your berries prepared the way you want to use them. Whole, chopped, crushed or sugared as all good ways to freeze. Here are a few tips on freezing strawberries:
Whole: First rinse and then cap berries. Air dry on a dish towel. Place, not touching, on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. Once berries are frozen, place them in freezer bags.
Chopped: Rinse and cap the berries. Chop berries with a pastry blender or any food chopper (not a food processor). Store up to two cups in a freezer bag and freeze.
Crush: Rinse and cape the berries. Place whole berries in a casserole dish and use anything with a flat surface to crush the berries. (We use glasses or glass jars). Then place in freezer bags and freeze.
Sugared: Add sugar to your chopped or crushed berries before putting them in the freezer bags. Allow the sugared berries to sit out for a few minutes before placing in the freezer. Remember, if you plan to use the strawberries in a recipe, it is a good idea not to sugar them, as the recipe will call for a certain amount of sugar.
These fun tips have been so valuable to me and now I have moved on from the mushy strawberry syndrome and enjoy every one of those delicious strawberries. I hope you do too!