Harvesting begins in Southern California and moves north as the season progresses. Peak season is between April and June when all of the growing districts are in full production. However, since 50 percent of the California crop is harvested after June 1, there are still plenty of strawberries available in the late summer and early fall. California strawberries are hand-picked to ensure only the highest quality berries are selected. Fresh strawberries are rushed to coolers, where huge fans pull out the field heat. From there they are shipped on refrigerated trucks or air freighted to their final destination. Strawberries selected for processing are gently washed and sorted, and frozen quickly to ensure that the best flavor and appearance are retained. Berries may be sliced, puréed or kept whole for freezing.
California strawberries are fully ripe at the time they are picked and do not continue to ripen after picking. They should have bright red color, natural shine and fresh looking green caps.
Increase your profitability of strawberries by minimizing waste. Proper care in handling and storage will ensure a higher yield and longer shelf life.
Always refrigerate your strawberries immediately to 34 degrees Farenheight. Keep berries away from moisture and stack carefully. Don't wash berries until just before use. Leave green caps on and wash berries with a gentle spray of cool water. After washing, remove the green caps from berries with a light twist or with the point of a paring knife.
|Pack Size||Refrigerator Thawing Time|
|Sliced sweetened berries #10 container, (6.5 lb.)||10-15 hours|
|30 lb. pail||36-46 hours|
|Whole (IQF) berries, 30 lb. carton||30-40 hours|
|Sweetened purée 30 lb. pail||40-48 hours|
Strawberries are high in vitamin C and folate, which help the body metabolize protein. Strawberries are a good source of potassium, too. And remember, they're naturally fat, sodium and cholesterol-free. When you serve California strawberries, you'll profit from today's trend toward more healthful food. For nutrition facts on frozen strawberries, contact the California Strawberry Commission.