The Florida Strawberry Growers Association wants to remind us that strawberries are not forever: The big season for our Florida beauties, grown mostly in Plant City and Dover, is November to March. It's your last chance to gorge on one of our most delicious local fruits, so here are the basics about how to choose, store, and eat:
- Berries should be bright red and unblemished, with nice green caps.They should smell like strawberries!
- Put them in the fridge right away (don't wash them until you're ready to eat; they'll get soggy).
- Consume within a few days of buying.
- Take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temp for the best flavor before eating.
They taste best eaten right out of the container, but they also taste great at around 100 proof. Below are a couple of recipes from my home files.
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- Wash and de-stem strawberries and pack into a glass jar with lid. Add one tablespoon of sugar and fill the jar with 100 proof vodka (you can also use rum). Close jar and put in a cupboard for a week.
- Strain liquid into a second jar. Add another tablespoon of sugar to the original jar and refill with vodka. Put back in cupboard for another week.
- Continue this process three or four times until you have enough strawberry liqueur. You can age it for a while if you like. Then make yourself a Strawberry Capirinha:
Strawberry Caipirinha (makes one drink)
- Muddle three strawberries and one cut-up lime in the bottom of a cocktail glass
- Add crushed ice
- Add one jigger rum (light rum or Brazilian Cachaca is best)
- Add one jigger of your homemade strawberry liqueur
- Stir and garnish with a whole strawberry and a lime wedge
This drink is also good with basil, as pictured above. Like Mama always said, "Drink your caipirinha, dear -- it's full of antioxidants!"