Strawberries have always been one of the favourite fruits with the masses and they are often used extensively in baking. The quality of strawberries that you use is often directly responsible for the final outcome of the dessert or pastry you are making. Therefore, it is important to choose and prepare your strawberries well. This article covers several tips that will help you to choose your strawberries and prepare them nicely.
Choosing your strawberries
In choosing your strawberries, ensure that the surface has a smooth and consistent red sheen all across. There should be no brown spots or mold on your strawberries. Strawberries are tender and do bruise easily, so it is also important to check for bruises on the strawberry. Sometimes the colour of a strawberry may vary in different shades of red across its surface and this is fine. However, look out for colours of green or white on the strawberries as this is an indicator that they are not fully ripe. Strawberries that are too dark red are overripe.
You may want to pick strawberries with sizes that are appropriate for their use. In general, larger strawberries do not possess the amount of concentrated flavour present in smaller strawberries. However, larger strawberries are more often used as they look nicer as decorative additions to cakes and other pastries.
Also, make sure that the stem of the strawberry is not drying up. Store strawberries covered in the fridge when they are not in use. The sooner you use them the better. Only cut the strawberries when you are ready to use them.
Preparing your strawberries
Wash the strawberries gently with cold water before using them. One way you may want to do it is to fill a bowl with cold water and rub your strawberries gently. If you see a lot of sand accumulating at the bottom of the bowl, you know that they are very sandy so ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned.
After cleaning is done, dry the strawberries very gently by patting with an absorbent paper towel, and then you may leave them to dry further on another towel. As mentioned, strawberries are very tender and delicate, so be careful that you do not accidentally bruise them.
If you are going to use the strawberries with chocolate, always make sure they are dry enough before you start dipping them in or letting them touch the chocolate. If they are not dry enough before you place them in contact with chocolate, the chocolate may not stick properly and the water will cause the chocolate to seize.
Now you know the basic steps required for choosing and preparing your strawberries. You will be able to use your new found knowledge to create strawberry desserts that will amaze and delight your guests.