The strawberry picking season here in Texas is winding down, it’s one of my favorite seasons of the year. I wait anxiously all year long to go and pick fresh, local strawberries by the bucket load. It’s become a tradition I hope to keep for many years to come. Last year, I started the tradition with one of my best friends, Carly who had grown up picking strawberries with her sweet mom. She talked about how much it influenced her to love the outdoors, gardening, fresh fruits and vegetables, and where our food comes from. After hearing about her experiences and growing up with that perspective, I was excited to begin the tradition of picking my own strawberries with Emery while she grows up.
Strawberries are sweet and delicious and the perfect addition to any summer dessert. Furthermore, there are plenty of health benefits that strawberries provide as well. They are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate, all of which are essential and important to our health. Furthermore, a diet rich in strawberries can reduce total and LDL cholesterols and lower your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Strawberries also contain phytonutrients called anthocyanin, which gives the red pigment and properties such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Tips for Local Strawberry Picking
A few tips that I have found helpful during my trips to the strawberry fields include proper clothing attire, hydration, and proper picking knowledge.
First, wear the proper clothing. The first time we went strawberry picking, the skies were blue and the weather was hot! Texas weather is always changing, but more often than not you can count on the late spring days to be pretty warm. I recommend wearing something you don’t mind getting dirty but something that keeps you cool. Picking requires walking through dirty and sometimes muddy fields so make sure you bring shoes/boots that allow for this. If it’s a particular warm and sunny day, I would recommend a hat to block the harsh sun on your head and shoulders.
Second, bring your own water. Most fields are out in the country and won’t provide water for you. If you’ve been picking and filling your buckets for a few hours you can get pretty thirsty out there. Hydration is always key in the warmer months.
Third, know how to pick them. Every field is different, and every yield is different. Some fields produce large strawberries and others produce smaller ones. For me, I have found the smaller strawberries produce a sweeter taste and hold their firmness longer after being picked. This year, we went to a field that produced larger strawberries. Although still delicious, I found that these strawberries went bad quicker than the smaller ones. Furthermore, when fields are overpicked, it’s best to move the foliage around the roots of the plants. There are plenty of strawberries hidden under the brush of the large green leaves.
When picking, I suggest finding the berries that are red throughout. In the grocery stores we see strawberries that have a white tip on the end, these berries are not fully ripe and won’t taste as sweet as those that are completely red.
My Favorite Strawberry Recipes
There are so many great recipes to make with fresh strawberries. Last year we picked nearly 20 pounds each of strawberries to take home and make into strawberry jam, pies, crisps, smoothies, scones, and sliced on top of oatmeal in the mornings. This year, I picked 9 pounds, filling two buckets to the top. I used about 3 pounds to make strawberry rhubarb jam, and I’ll store the rest in the freezer to use throughout the year for smoothies, ice cream, summer snacking, and of course a pie.
This recipe can be found in my summer cookbook, along with other great information on strawberry picking fun. My recipe book comes in ebook format and hardcopy and can be purchased here!
These recipes are original Healthy Chew recipes, all rights reserved.
All photos used were taken by and for The Healthy Chew, all rights reserved.
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