It’s spring, the weather is beautiful, and you want to do something fun with the family. You could go to the park or for a bike ride, but you can do that any time. What about going strawberry picking? Today happens to be Pick Strawberries Day, so we’re going to give you some helpful tips for going strawberry picking and advice for participating in this enjoyable outing.
When to Go Strawberry Picking
In the U.S., the best times to pick strawberries are in April and May in the Deep South and in June further north. Strawberry season is relatively short and depends greatly on the spring weather.
Find a Farm
Want to find a pick-your-own strawberries farm? Use the handy tool at Pickyourown.org to find local farms in your area. This website also gives you information about what’s in season throughout the year as well as a crop harvest schedule. You can even find information about directions for canning and freezing the fresh fruits and vegetables that you pick.
Prep for the Trip
About 15 minutes before you leave the house, apply sunscreen on every member of the family. Don’t forget to put it on the face, back of the neck and back of the ears. If you’ll be wearing sandals or flip flops, apply it to the tops of the feet too.
It’s a good idea to wear sun protective clothing. You’ll be exposed to a lot of sun—there’s not much shade in the strawberry fields—so you don’t want the UV rays to damage the skin beneath your fine white T-shirt. Wear a large-brimmed, floppy hat to protect your scalp, ears, neck and face, and don’t forget the sunglasses.
Luckily, Cabana Life offers clothing that’s ideal for excursions like this. You don’t have to look like you’re going for a swim just because you’re wearing sun protective clothing. Cabana Life’s preppy and stylish options are perfect for everyday wear.
Call ahead before you leave for the farm. If you’ve had an especially rainy or dry season, there may not be as many strawberries to pick as you’d hoped. Plan to arrive early. If it’s a weekend or a holiday, some fields may be picked clean by midday.
Pack a lunch or a snack. Many farms offer picnic areas where you can enjoy nature while you enjoy a relaxed meal.
Strawberry Picking Tips
When you head out to the fields, don’t just pick every strawberry (although your toddler probably will). The best strawberries are large, firm and bright red in color. They won’t continue to ripen after they’ve been picked, so leave the white and green strawberries on the vines to fully develop.
How much should you pick? That depends on how much you absolutely love strawberries and your willingness to do the work to preserve the ones you won’t be able to eat right away. One quart of freshly picked berries will yield about 3 cups after you remove the hulls and any berries that have gotten mushy in transit. It’ll take you about 10 to 15 minutes to pick a quart of berries, so plan accordingly.
Preserving the Extra Strawberries
You don’t have to be a canning pro to preserve your extra berries. You can just wash and dry the berries and remove the hulls. Then, put them in a plastic bag with a zippered top and press out as much air as possible. Pop them in the freezer, where they’ll last for several months. Here's a great resource on freezing strawberries. Add the frozen berries to smoothies or yogurt. Check out the upcoming post on Tuesday, May 24, for some amazing recipes that you can make with frozen strawberries.