Strawberry plants are a gorgeous sight to behold! Strawberry picking is a delightful and memorable experience you would want to have. It’s also rewarding. Are you seeking a fun-filled outing? Do you crave for some berries or want to get your pants and fingers gritty? Go and pick some strawberries from your farm. In this article, you’ll understand the varieties, how to pick, freeze and store these berries.
Characterized by a red colour, sweet taste and juicy texture, strawberries are small plants that belong to the Rose family. They thrive in all provinces of North America, including Canada. Strawberries are eaten fresh or processed into finished goods like jam, pies, milkshake and ice cream. Their aromas are utilized in the production of candy, skin products and the likes. Due to improvements in growing methods and plant breeding, the traditional fruit or June-bearing type can be enjoyed from June to October. Strawberries are available both in the summer and fall. Like their counterpart, the ever-bearing and new-day varieties are also colourful and sweet.
How they are grown
Strawberries do not reproduce through seeds; they form tendrils, also known as runners. These runners extend into the root to grow into fruit-bearing plants. The plants are excavated and transplanted to increase strawberry fields. Several farmers adopt this method to source for plants every year. The ever-bearing strawberries are planted linearly on raised beds using drip irrigation. Enclosed by tight plastic sheets, the beds are mulched with adequate water trickling down the roots. The covering regulates ground temperature, prevents weed attack, and removes excess water from the roots. Use your hand to push plant roots through the plastic sheets.
Using machines, traditional varieties are planted in long rows and watered with drip irrigation lines. When these plump fruits turn red, it indicates they’re ripe. Not all berries get ripened, so you’ll need to harvest twice or thrice. During harvest, they are handpicked at different stages, packaged and transported for sale.
How to pick strawberries
The mornings are the best time to harvest strawberries. The fruits should be carefully picked since they’re quite delicate and bruise easily. While you can easily pick some varieties, you’ll need to take care when choosing certain types. So, how should you pick strawberries? Hold the stem between your forefinger and thumbnail, then gently pull and twirl. Put the harvested fruits in a container and ensure you don’t overfill it. To pick varieties that cap, firmly hold the stem and squeeze lightly to release the berry. Repeat the process until you achieve your strawberry picking goals. Ensure you separate bad berries from the good ones to prevent rot. Strawberries with green tips are unripe, so don’t pick them. After harvesting the ripe ones, store them in a cool, dry place. Wash berries when you want to use them.
How to store strawberries
Typically, strawberries can stay fresh for two to three days before they begin to go bad. It’s best to refrigerate them after harvest so they can retain their quality and nutrients. Frozen strawberries are good for smoothies, desserts, jams and baking. If you want to freeze your berries, ensure you don’t wash them. Place them in a single row in the freezer and allow them to freeze for 4-6 hours before packaging and storing them for 12 months. Nothing tastes as good as picking up strawberries off the vine. Go and pick some juicy, fresh fruits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How long does strawberry picking last?
Once the plant blossoms, you can begin harvesting, which lasts for 4-6 weeks. Within that period, pick only red berries every three days.
What do you wear to strawberry picking?
Any long-sleeved shirt and pant is a suitable outfit for strawberry picking, most especially on thorny parts. Wear comfortable shoes as well.
How long does it take for green strawberries to ripen?
It takes 4-6 weeks for the ripening process to take place. Most times, it occurs after flowers blossom.
Do strawberries continue to ripen after picking?
No, they stop ripening after harvest. An unripe berry won’t get ripened after picking, so it’s best you opt for the ripe ones.
How do you know when berries are ready to be picked?
When three-quarters of the fruit’s surface changes from green to red.