Strawberry Cryogenics: How to Make Them Keep
Ah, strawberries. We're blessed to have edible strawberries eleven months of the year here in Orange County, but we're headed full tilt into the very best of the berries. The problem is that they are, to quote Alton Brown, "ticking time bombs." Within a day they've withered; in three days they're moldy.
The strawberries in back are two hours old; the strawberries in front are two weeks old.
Go to a home-goods store (Target will serve the purpose admirably) and buy either glass or plastic jars that have a hinged lid that locks. You'll want something in the quart or half gallon size.
When you get your strawberries home, do not wash them. Pick them over carefully. Any that have become bruised or are exuding any juice whatsoever are not candidates for mummification; set them aside and eat them first.
Gently dry the strawberries with paper toweling, then carefully lay them in the jar you bought. Make sure you leave enough space at the top for the lid to close fully without pressing (and juicing) the berries. Put the jar in the refrigerator.
You should be able to keep them for about two weeks. I've gotten three out of them, but that's pushing your luck. You'll see a lot of condensation on the jar; don't worry about this. The berries won't be quite field-fresh, but they will be whole, delicious, and remarkably well-preserved for their age.
You can use this method for other berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.) but the smaller berries really have a limit of about a week and a half before they start to break down.
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