Strawberry season is in full swing. What is normally a bounty by this time of the year is a less prolific, but nevertheless delicious abundance of berries at the markets. The weather late last year must have affected crops and prices are also a bit higher as a result. Plus the recent cold snap (donâ€™t you love it? a cool 20 C or low 70â€™s in Manila in the mornings) will probably screw up future crops so I suggest you grab your berries this weekend. For some reason, the packaging of choice now are styrofoam plates with tightly, and I mean tightly bound plastic wrap, suffocating the tender berries. I suppose suppliers think this limits the damage to the berries on their arduous passage from the mountains to the big city, but this is positively BAD for the fruit itself. Letâ€™s just say I wouldnâ€™t want my berries in saran wrapâ€¦ thatâ€™s like ensconcing your gonads in polyester underwear. Give me breathable cotton any dayâ€¦heeheehee.
I got these berries at three packages for PHP100 at my favorite stall at Market!Market! called FreshFields, but I am certain you can cut a 4 package for a PHP100 deal at the lower rent markets. When you get home, immediately remove the plastic wrap and store them in the fridge. Do not wash them way ahead of use as that will hasten their demise. Berries shouldnâ€™t be kept more than 2 days or so. If you arenâ€™t going to use them immediately, hull them (remove the green leaves), wash them and freeze them in zip-lock bags. I find the frozen berries are great in smoothies and shakes or for cooked sauces for desserts. While our local berries aren’t anywhere near as humongous as the almost frightening “engineered berries” imported from elsewhere, I do like the flavor and the value (so much cheaper…). With Valentineâ€™s coming up fast and furious, you can also make chocolate dipped strawberries for your Valentine and save a mint on the outrageous sums florists will charge for a thorny roseâ€¦