It’s high season for Belgian strawberries. We like to enjoy our red flavor bombs all year round, but how do we best store them at home to let the full flavor come on its own? And can you freeze it for later? Strawberry growers in Hoogstraten and Belorta offer advice.
“We are currently seeing a very high demand for strawberries,” Hoogstraten growers say. This period usually sees the highest demand throughout the entire year. For many people, strawberries are a seasonal product that runs from May to September, although in our country we can grow strawberries all year round thanks to the succession of different cultivation techniques. When strawberries are grown with care and love, and given enough water, nutrition and sunlight, strawberries taste their best even in every season.”
The perfect strawberry flavor
What does the perfect strawberry taste like? “Tastes vary, but on average the consumer expects a pleasant, juicy taste. The right balance between sour and sweet is also very important, because otherwise the taste will quickly become bland.” At Belorta, they find it important that the strawberries are naturally sweet, department manager Kris Jans told us. “It’s not really meant that you have to add sugar to them. Plus, a certain amount of crunch is also important.”
Frozen strawberries are best used in preparations such as jam and warm strawberry sauce.
How can it be stored?
Sweet and sour with a crunchy touch: This is how strawberries should taste, according to the growers. What is the best way to store red fruit to maintain the perfect balance of flavor? “Be sure to keep it in the refrigerator, which you set between 1 and 4 degrees,” Gans says. Hoogstraten adds: “Some modern refrigerators have a special drawer for fruits and vegetables: If you have one, it’s a good idea to put strawberries in there.”
To bring out the good flavor while eating, take the strawberries out of the refrigerator about an hour before you eat them. “That way they can quietly come to room temperature and then taste the best of it,” Gans says. “The full flavor of a strawberry doesn’t show if it’s too cold.” If you want to preserve the taste, it is preferable to buy strawberries as soon as possible before the planned consumption. It is not necessary to wash strawberries before eating them, according to growers. “And if you want to wash it, do it before cutting the crown. Otherwise they will absorb a lot of water and taste watery.”
The crown: to cut it or eat it?
Bonus tasting tip from growers: Don’t cut the top of the strawberries too far. “Some people always cut off the top of the strawberry, because it tastes a bit bitter and you can even taste a little spinach in it. However, you can also eat the crown without any problems. It seems to have a lot of vitamins and it is definitely nutritious.” So you can use Crowns to give a refreshing taste to a smoothie or cocktail. Crowns also come completely alone in fruit water. Make a jug or bottle full of ice water and put the strawberry crowns in. After a few minutes, the water is deliciously fruity.”
You can freeze strawberries, but then it is better to use them in a preparation such as jam or strawberry sauce for ice cream.
Can you freeze strawberries?
Finally, if you want to enjoy the peak season of strawberries for longer, you can also freeze them. “But there’s no intention of eating them anymore as ‘fresh’ strawberries,” Hoogstraten explains. “You won’t get the same taste you do if you eat them right after you put them in the fridge.” It’s OK to use them in warm strawberry jams and sauce. The latter is delicious with a scoop of ice cream.”
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