Mother Earth Living

Everything’s Coming Up Strawberries

Some people say that spotting a robin is the first sign of summer.  For me, summer begins with the start of strawberry harvest!  And last week, my CSA farmer brought me three (3!) cases of ripe red berries.  It’s a perfect rite of passage!

Photo by Inger Wilkerson

Strawberry Treats

Sweet treats are the mainstay of strawberry recipes.  Fancier favorites include chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry rhubarb crisps, and spectacular pies, either baked or made of fresh berries, gelled together. But strawberries are delicious even simple and straight up, topped with cream and sugar, dolloped with sour cream and brown sugar, or even all by themselves. 

While desserts may be the most popular way of serving strawberries, they also shine in savory dishes.  Strawberries can go into a fruit salsa or add pizazz to a salad like this Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed dressing.

Strawberries can even contribute in the beverage arena with drinks like strawberry limeade, strawberry margaritas, or fruit shrubs, a mixture of fruit and vinegar and a historic way of preserving fruit. 

Photo by Inger Wilkerson

How to Buy Strawberries

One of the big benefits of loading up on strawberries right now is that they are available locally.  I love it when I can buy from a neighborhood farm selling perfectly ripe, just-picked berries.

To select your berries, I recommend checking the color, and also the bottom layer.  The best berries are a uniform medium red—no green shoulders!  The color indicates the overall ripeness; dark red may be overripe and pale red may have been picked a bit early.  Finally check the bottom layer for softness or mold.      

If you won’t be finishing your berries within a day or two, consider placing a paper towel under each layer before you refrigerate them.  This will absorb any extra moisture and give you a little extra time to enjoy.

And finally, buy organic if you can. 

Photo by Inger Wilkerson

Why Buy Organic 

Of course, by now, most people are familiar with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen,” an annual list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables.  Every year they test produce so, if you can’t buy all organic, you can pick and choose where buying organic is most important.

The list changes annually as agricultural practices evolve, so it’s good to review it regularly.  But the beautiful bright strawberry seems to be high on the list every year and this year tops out at #1.

Citing USDA testing from 2015-2016, the EWG commented that “Strawberry samples contained residues of 81 different pesticides in various combinations,” including some “linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.” They add that conventional “strawberry growers use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gases to sterilize their fields before planting, killing every pest, weed and other living thing in the soil.”

That’s a lot of reason to go organic!

If you can’t get organic, most people believe you are better off eating conventional produce rather than skipping it (wash it well). 


In either case, strawberry season is a delight not to be missed.  How often do you find so many ways to enjoy the bounty of summer! 

Join Inger at Art of Natural Living for great local food, gardening fun and green lifestyle tips. From (mostly) healthy recipes to natural body care, living naturally is an art!

  • Published on Jul 3, 2018
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