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The strawberry is a popular berry fruit. There are over 20 species of strawberry plants and they come in over 600 varieties. The most common variety of strawberry is the garden variety. Peak strawberry season is from April through June. Strawberries are known for their delicious, sweet taste and as a source of antioxidants. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper.
Peak strawberry season runs for approximately two weeks once the crop is ready to be harvested. Strawberry crops are easily affected by changes in the weather, and a bout of cold, damp weather can decrease how long the strawberry crop will last.
Strawberries should be refrigerated. When stored properly, the berries will usually last a maximum of three days in the refrigerator. Select red, ripe, firm strawberries. Green, unripe berries will not ripen once off the vine. Discard any moldy strawberries prior to storage. Do not wash the strawberries prior to storage. Place them in single layers in between paper towels and cover them with plastic wrap. They can also be stored in layers, in between the paper towels in a plastic container. Removing the stems, slicing the berries and covering them in brown sugar will also increase their storage time.
You can increase the length of times that strawberries will last by freezing the berries. Place the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Once frozen, remove the strawberries from the cookie sheet and store them in a heavy-duty zip-top bag or in a sturdy plastic container. Make sure to wash the strawberries prior to consumption. Prior to freezing, add a little lemon juice to preserve their red coloring. You can also store sweetened strawberries. Wash the berries and then remove the stems. Pat them dry and slice them. Cover them in brown sugar or honey, and store them in a plastic container. Frozen strawberries can last up to a year in the freezer.