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Strawberries – All You Need to Know | Instacart’s Guide to Groceries

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Last Updated: Jan 26, 2022

What are strawberries?

Strawberries are red heart-shaped fruit, one of the most recognizable and enjoyed fruits and part of the rose family.

Where did strawberries originate from?

Different varieties of strawberries have been available across the globe for centuries. The original origin is believed to be from ancient Rome. However, the strawberry as we know it originated in the 1700s in Northern Europe.

What are the nutritional value and benefits of consuming strawberries?

Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C. Just eating eight strawberries provides more vitamin C than what an orange can provide. Strawberries are also loaded with antioxidants.

How are strawberries grown?

When preparing to grow and harvest strawberries, it’s vital to ensure that the seeds or plants you are beginning with are self-pollinating. Strawberries will grow and flourish in climates where temperatures reach as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit; but, it would be more beneficial to plant them in containers where they can be transported to a warmer area, like a greenhouse, in the event of severe temperature changes.

Proper drainage is essential for their growth and development. While they must get plenty of water, it’s vital to constantly check the soil for moisture so that over-watering doesn’t kill the strawberries. 

Strawberries do best with plenty of sunlight. In fact, the more sun they’re exposed to, the tastier they’ll be. It’s recommended that they get at least 8 hours of sun. 

Strawberries will need space to grow, so they should be planted about 12 inches apart. Once the plants start growing and flowers appear, it’s important to lay mulch underneath the strawberries to ensure they won’t hit the ground, causing them to rot. 

Once strawberries start showing signs of maturity, such as their deep red coloring, they’re ready to be picked. 

The plants can be cut down toward the end of the season once they’ve been harvested, and mulch can be placed on top of where the strawberry plants were in preparation for winter. 

When are strawberries in season?

While the growing season depends on where the strawberries are being grown, they are typically an early summer harvest. Certain areas of the world can grow and harvest strawberries throughout the entire year. 

Even though their availability is pretty promising in stores throughout the year, their prices will fluctuate depending on the growing season. Since they’re typically a summer harvest, they’re at their cheapest during the late summer months. 

How do you pick out strawberries in the store?

When selecting strawberries at the store, the best way to tell if you’re getting the freshest selection is to look at their coloring. They should be a nice vibrant red. Ensure that they still have their green leafy stems attached, ensuring that their freshness isn’t compromised. Also, look for firm strawberries. If they are soft in appearance, they’re likely about to go bad.

Shopping for groceries has never been easier through Instacart. Once you select items for your order and place them in your cart, you can use the “Instructions” selection to talk with your Instacart shopper concerning any preferences or specific directions on selecting the best strawberries available.

How to store strawberries

Strawberries will last for one day if left at room temperature. To increase their life span, strawberries should be stored in an enclosed container on a paper towel to ensure that the moisture doesn’t spoil. Since they’re sensitive to moisture, it’s important not to wash them before consuming them. Instead, wash them as you plan to eat them. 

If they’re stored properly, they should last for a week, maybe a little longer from the time you purchased them. 

Strawberries can be frozen if you want them to last longer. Just place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer for roughly 6 hours. Once they’re frozen solid, you can move them to either a plastic storage bag or in a container. You can then take them out and defrost them as you’d like to enjoy them. Once frozen, strawberries will typically last for six months. 

How to tell if strawberries are bad

The easiest way to tell if strawberries have gone bad is to look for signs of mold. If you see any signs of grey or white mold, that means the strawberries have expired. 

It’s best to avoid or throw out strawberries that appear bruised, soft, or mushy because this indicates that their taste won’t be as good since they’ll be past their prime. 

Strawberries have a beautiful vibrant red coloring, so if you notice that they’ve started to lose their rich color, then it’s time to throw them out. 

Another sign they’ve gone bad is if they’ve developed a strange or foul smell, and they should be tossed. 

What can I substitute for strawberries?

Strawberries are typically an easy fruit to find. While their availability isn’t limited, specific substitutions will work well if you can’t find any strawberries.

Pineberries are a great alternative because they have a similar appearance. They are almost identical, except that the pineberries have a light pink or orange coloring, but their seeds are red. They do have a similar taste; however, pineberries have a hint of a pineapple taste. 

Another alternative for substitution is raspberries. While their taste isn’t very close, they do offer a refreshing sweetness that is enjoyed, and they do complement one another since they are often paired in fruit salads

Where to find and buy strawberries

You can shop for strawberry products and other similar produce options through Instacart. Instacart offers an easy shopping experience with same-day pick-up or delivery to support those with a busy schedule. An added advantage to utilize is to have your shopper leave your order at the door. Once your shopper has arrived at your home, they’ll contact you through the app to inform you that the order is at your doorstep.

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