Not only a quintessential summer aroma perfect for fruit salads and indulgent desserts but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, strawberries are a healthy and nutritious fruit ideal for a balanced diet.
However, like most products available in grocery stores and markets today, strawberries can be contaminated with anything from dirt and bacteria to harmful pesticides, which is why they always need to be thoroughly washed before consumption. So, here are a few simple ways you can clean your strawberries before you enjoy their delicious taste:
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When should strawberries be cleaned?
Strawberries should only be washed right before you’re ready to eat them or prepare a meal with them. This fruit has a spongy texture that allows them to soak up larger amounts of water quickly, which means that if you clean your strawberries in advance, before storing them, the additional moisture will make them go bad much faster, and even develop mold more quickly.
Steps to take before washing the strawberries
Before you’re ready to wash your strawberries, there are a couple of steps you need to take fist. Go through your strawberries, and throw away ones that are soft and mushy, bruised, moldy, or not yet ripe. Only keep those strawberries that are fresh, plump, and deep red in color. It would also be a good idea to leave the stems on while you wash, as this will help prevent the strawberries from absorbing any additional water.
Rinsing the strawberries with water
If you’ve grown your own strawberries without pesticides or bought organic ones locally, then simply rinsing them with water would be more than enough to get rid of any dirt and dust. There are two different ways to do this:
- Just place your strawberries in a clean colander, and rinse them under cold running water. While washing, move them around carefully with your hands, to ensure each strawberry is properly cleaned. If you bought your strawberries in a plastic container that’s vented (with holes at the bottom) you could also use the container as a colander, and wash in the same way.
- Another way to clean strawberries is to wash them in a bowl of cool water. But instead of submerging them fully and allowing them to soak, strawberries only need to be rinsed, to avoid absorbing any excess water. So, simply grab a couple of strawberries in your hand, and quickly swirl them through the bowl of water a couple of times, before taking them out, and repeating the process for the rest of the strawberries.
Washing the strawberries with a vinegar solution
In case you bought the strawberries from a bigger grocery store, and particularly when they’ve been grown using harsh chemicals, it’s worth washing them a bit more thoroughly before consumption, to ensure they’re as clean as possible. Here’s how you can do just that:
- Fill a clean, large bowl with four parts cold water and one part vinegar, and then mix the solution together.
- Grab a couple of strawberries with your hand, and swirl them vigorously through the vinegar mix for about 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
- Then, carefully rinse all the strawberries under cool running water using a colander, to prevent the taste of vinegar from remaining on the fruit.
Drying the strawberries
Regardless of the washing method, you opt for, strawberries always need to be dried carefully, in order to avoid soaking up excess water, thus tasting less sweet or going bad more quickly. Firstly, allow the strawberries to drain in a colander for a couple of minutes. Then, lay them out on a clean kitchen towel, and pat them dry gently. Alternatively, you could also dab each individual strawberry dry with a paper towel, as long as you make sure not to damage them in the process.
In just a couple of minutes and a few simple steps, strawberries can effortlessly be cleaned from any residual chemicals or debris. All that’s left to do now is enjoy that perfectly sweet and tangy taste of summer.