Late spring and early summer mark the traditional strawberry season, but in today's marketplace most grocers offer different varieties year-round.
Making the most of early- or off-season berries is a matter of selecting the best and knowing how to use them. Color alone usually isn't enough to go by, as a berry that is beautifully red on the outside can still be tough and taste dull.
Nevertheless, avoid pale or slightly green berries, which is an indication that they are under-ripe. And when possible, smell the berries to see if they have a sweet, ripe aroma. Store fresh strawberries in an airtight container in your refrigerator and don't rinse until you are ready to eat them. They lose their flavor quickly, so it is best to eat them within three days of purchase.
If you end up with strawberries that have underwhelming flavor, there are tricks for perking them up.
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Toss 2 cups of hulled and halved strawberries with 3 tablespoons of sugar and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This not only sweetens the berries but also enhances their natural flavors.