Jersey Fresh strawberries, delicious with everything
from cereal to creamy desserts, are now in season -
with harvests under way in South Jersey and expected
to begin in northern New Jersey by June 1st, Agriculture
Secretary Charles M. Kuperus announced today.
should be plump and firm with a bright red color
and natural shine. The size of the berry is not
important; the color of the berry and the fragrance
are the best indicators of flavor. Caps should
be fresh, green and intact. Avoid strawberries
with green or white color, or those that appear
mushy, shriveled or leaky. Strawberries do not
ripen after harvest, so they should be immediately
stored in the refrigerator and picked as close
to consumption time as possible. When purchasing,
check the carton for stains, which indicate over-ripeness.
Remove the strawberries from the market or store
container. Store in a shallow container on a paper
towel in the refrigerator for up to three days.
If a shallow container is not feasible, put paper
towels between the layers. Remove from the refrigerator
and serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.
Do not wash strawberries until ready to eat because
their high water content, on top of the additional
water, will result in a mushy berry. Once the caps
are removed, an enzyme is released that destroys
the vitamin C. Be certain to remove the caps after
rinsing to prevent the strawberry from becoming
waterlogged and from losing vitamin C content.
Strawberries are tasty raw, especially when served
with liqueur or when dipped in balsamic vinegar
and brushed with powdered sugar. Preserve as a
jam, or easily freeze by coating in a water and
lemon juice mix. New Jersey produced 1.6 million
pounds of strawberries valued at $2.08 million
in 2002. The strawberry season begins at the end
of May, peaks during June and ends in mid-July.
Following is a recipe for strawberries, found in Jersey
Fresh Cooks, a cookbook available at local
farm markets. For the location of farm markets
or other information on Jersey Fresh, visit the
Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.
cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 large Jersey Fresh egg
Jersey Fresh strawberries
flour, then add baking powder, salt and sugar.
Sift into bowl. Mix ½ cup shortening with
pastry blender in flour until mixture is the consistency
of coarse oatmeal. Beat one egg well in small bowl
and add 2/3 cup milk. Make a well in center of
flour mixture. Pour in egg and milk and with a
fork, mix with flour, slowly at first, then rapidly
and vigorously until soft dough is formed. If you
want individual shortcakes, drop heaping tablespoonfuls
1-inch apart on greased baking sheet. Shape round
with spoon or spatula. Bake at 450 degrees for
12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is an even brown.
Split while hot, butter, then fill and top with
berries. Serve with cream, plain or whipped. Serves