Fresh strawberries all year

The summer starts with the strawberries. How long the red fruit keeps its flavor, what you need to keep in mind when storing and processing strawberries, and other tricks to keep the sweet berry for longer.

Strawberries are being washed off our faucet |  Picture: mauritius-images
"Personally, I like the strawberry, freshly picked, still warm from the sun, from hand to mouth, a strawberry with no frills!"

Maria Hofreiter, family business Hofreiter in Munich

In fact, the freshly picked strawberry tastes the most intense. Maria Hofreiter explains that strawberries are very sensitive fruits. Just five hours after picking, the fruit loses aroma, ie taste and smell. The aroma is made up of many different chemical compounds. The majority of these are the so-called fruit esters. Unfortunately, these esters degrade very quickly, which is why the strawberry has only half of its aroma after 24 hours on average. "That depends a lot on the variety," explains Maria Hofreiter. In 1976, her father-in-law Josef Hofreiter had the idea to grow strawberries for self-picking. Today, she leads the strawberry farm near Munich with her husband Josef and her children.

How long are strawberries?
 Strawberries are cut |  Picture: mauritius-images
Strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for around two to three days. "Store the berries in an open container in which air can circulate," recommends Hofreiter. These are best suited for cardboard trays or wooden shells. Ceramics or plastic are not so good, because the berry has to get air from all sides.

If you want to store the strawberries in the fridge, you should not wash them first and move the berries as little as possible. Strawberries are very sensitive and begin to rot quickly at bruises. Unwashed, the fruits just keep longer, explains Maria Hofreiter. Only if you want to eat or process the strawberries, then wash them off with water. Do not hold the berries directly under the hard water jet, but place them in a water bath. Remove the green leaves only after washing. Otherwise, the red fruits absorb water via the interface and become watery.

Freeze strawberries
"Strawberries can be frozen, but they lose their cell structure after thawing and become soft and flabby."

Maria Hofreiter, family business Hofreiter in Munich

 Frozen strawberries |  Picture: mauritius-images
So that the strawberries do not get too soggy from the freezer, you should shock-freeze them. Heidrun Schubert, nutrition expert at the consumer center Bavaria therefore recommends to put the berries individually on a plate and freeze on it. Only when the fruits are frozen, they come from the tin in a freezer bag.

Of course, after freezing, the fruits are a bit slacker than fresh from the field, but they are also very suitable for desserts, such as this strawberry tiramisu or jam. Tip: To preserve the red color, give a small splash of lemon over the fruit before freezing. The frozen fruits hold at minus 18 degrees in the freezer for several months - but the aroma decreases slightly.

Freeze the fruit puree
Those who do not necessarily need whole fruits can first puree the strawberries and then freeze the strawberry puree. Simply puree the fruits with a little sugar and a dash of lemon juice. To always have the right portion size at hand, put the fruit puree in an ice cube container. Once the puree is frozen, gently push the cubes out of the mold and place in a freezer bag.

So you always have fresh strawberry flavor for yogurt or desserts. Tip: The fruit cubes also taste very good in mineral water or in a glass of sparkling wine. With a little vidka you can also make sweet strawberry limes .

Fruit leather with strawberries - A recipe
 Fruit leather from strawberries |  Picture: mauritius-images
Fruit leather is also a good way to preserve strawberries. Prepare a fruit puree as above - it is worthwhile to sweep it through a sieve and remove the seeds. Spread the puree about half a centimeter thick on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and dry it in the oven for about eight hours at 50 degrees. To allow moisture to escape, clamp a wooden spoon into the oven door. After drying, you can cut the fruit leather into strips. It lasts several weeks.

Strawberry vinegar, strawberry limes or jam
If you like fruity salad dressing , you can also make a strawberry vinegar yourself. "With fruit vinegar, however, the risk of mold is quite high," says nutrition expert Heidrun Schubert. It therefore recommends not to put too many fruits in the vinegar, keep the vinegar in the refrigerator and consume as quickly as possible. Here is a guide on how to make vinegar yourself .

Another way of preserving is the processing to jam. To ensure that the fresh strawberry jam retains its bright red color and intense aroma, you can freeze the freshly filled and cooled jam jars, explains Maria Hofreiter from Erdbeerhof Hofreiter in Munich. "This jam tastes sensational after thawing, and with this method, in just 35 years, not a single glass has been spoiled or broken," she says.


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