Berry Interesting

May 18, 2010

Admit it. When was the last time you tasted a really good strawberry? I mean a naked one: un-doctored with brown sugar, honey, yogurt, melted chocolate, brandy or candied sprinkles!

Strawberries should taste naturally sweet all by themselves.

June is strawberry season, and it will be a relief to finally get locally grown berries instead of buying placid, pale colored, white tipped strawberries in plastic containers from foreign lands.

But hold on because even some of the locally grown strawberries are lacking in flavor. I have found this to be true the last few years, and I suspect it is because strawberry plants have been genetically modified in order to get higher yields. And there is s a price to pay that translates to lackluster tasting fruit. Not to mention the over 44 pesticides used on commercially grown strawberries and other fruits like raspberries, blueberries and peaches.

For my money the best strawberries are wild; those little tiny ones out in the fields that you just discover by accident. Wild strawberries may be small but their taste is intense and grand, a real impact on the taste buds, the way nature intended. In fact, the smaller the berry, the better the taste. That’s because large size berries have a lot more water and less flavor.

When you buy them, look for deep red color with bright green leaves. Be sure the berries in the bottom of the box are just as red as the ones on top. And if you see berry stains in the bottom of the box, just pass.That’s an indication that the berries are past their prime.

Once home, take the berries out of the box and place them in single layers on a paper towel lined dish. Refrigerate them but not too long. When ready to use them, wash and dry them leaving the stems attached to prevent too much water from seeping inside. Then remove the stems with a berry stemmer or use a small knife.

Strawberries are the only known fruit to have seeds on the outside. They are loaded with vitamins, especially vitamin A, C and B6. The best part is they are fat free and low calorie and are a source of antioxidants which helps to prevent heart disease and cancer.

My advice is to head for your local berry patch and pick your own, preferably from an organic grower who understands the consequences of fooling with mother nature.

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