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Karen Ridings

Get ready for local strawberries - so easy to preserve!

Strawberry season is right around the corner. Not only can you buy them fresh from your local farmer's market, but many farms will allow you to pick your own! Did you know that the strawberry is a member of the rose family? It is a fruit with a delicate flavor and yet is bursting with Vitamin C, A, and potassium.

Strawberries are very versatile. Not only do they make scrumptious desserts such as strawberry shortcake and fresh strawberry pie, but can dress up a salad. They can be used to top off yogurt, breakfast cereals, and pancakes or just eaten as a snack!

When shopping for this luscious fruit, select strawberries that are wearing their fresh green caps! If you are purchasing strawberries that are prepackaged, visually check the package to make sure there is no mold growth. If you are trying to buy a specific quantity for a recipe, keep in mind that one and a half pounds will yield approximately one quart or about 4 cups of sliced strawberries.

It is recommended to use strawberries shortly after harvesting or purchasing. It is best to store unwashed strawberries in your refrigerator, loosely covered with a plastic wrap. They should not be left at room temperature for more than a few hours. When you are ready to use them, wash them thoroughly in a colander, remove the caps, and rinse quickly one more time.

Since strawberry season passes so quickly, think about preserving your strawberries using a water bath canning process. This will allow you to enjoy strawberries through the winter until the next strawberry season arrives!

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) offers canning classes to help first time canners gain confidence in the process and experienced canners to gain updated information regarding canning. On May 16th, VCE-Frederick County will be offering a "Jam & Jelly" canning class in Winchester from 9 a.m.-noon.

Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register contact: Karen Ridings at (540)665-5699 or ridingsk@vt.edu

Source: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/strawberries/


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Author - Brittany Michael Author - Karen Poff Author - Karen Ridings Family & Human Development Family Financial Management Food, Nutrition, Health

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