Strawberries are one of summer's best fruits. You can make strawberry shortcake with them, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry ice cream or strawberry preserves. Perhaps the best way to eat strawberries, however, is to enjoy them on their own, whole and freshly picked. These ruby fruits are at their best when they're still slightly warm from the sun, straight off the plant.
If you can get farm fresh strawberries, you should always choose them over the kind you find in the supermarket, because, well...
This sad photo from Reddit user Barkingpanther was labeled, "the difference between farm fresh and supermarket strawberries." As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The photo reveals that supermarket strawberries usually don't have what it takes. They are often not fully ripe, white inside and utterly tasteless compared to farm fresh ones. Marvin Pritts, a Cornell horticulture professor, explained to NPR that while mass-produced strawberries may have increased in size and firmness over the years, many have also lost a considerable amount of flavor. Why would people aim to produce bigger strawberries instead of more flavorful ones? Size is important to Americans, Pritts points out. To many Americans, bigger means better. Additionally, bigger strawberries are easier to pick, which speeds up labor and cuts labor costs.
In order to find the best-tasting strawberries, try for strawberries from the farmers market, or better yet, farm stands. Opt for organic if you can, and smell the basket before buying. If they smell fragrant, they probably taste better. The berries should be bright and firm to the touch, but also plump. Pritts suggests looking for strawberries grown closest to you, because they will likely be the most ripe.
If you've never picked strawberries by hand and enjoyed a fresh, still slightly warm one from the field, this summer is a great time to find out what you've been missing all these years. Fresh strawberries will give you a whole new appreciation of the fruit.