What’s the best thing about Summer? Probably the margaritas and chips + guac that I consume at a ridiculous pace. And cocktails at the pool. And well, everything else. But the thing that gets me the happiest and marks the official start of Summer? Strawberries. Fresh picked, delicious, oh so very sweet strawberries. And whether we’re making quick jam, strawberry shortcakes or the perfect strawberry & cream muffins that we’re debuting next, we’re happier when our day starts with a little picking and a little eating.

Many local farms and farmers market have a pick your own berry option. That’s a great way to spend a morning and can provide a lot more berries than a small backyard garden. Here are a few tips…

Use a large, flat box as opposed to containers to prevent bruising.
Twist your strawberries off the vine rather than pulling them.
Be gentle. Strawberries bruise and scar easily.
Don’t overflow your containers. No more than 2 layers of strawberries if you can avoid it!
For longer lasting berries, pick only the ones that are bright red and firm.
For jams and baking, the riper, slightly soft varieties work too!
Don’t forget to look deeeep within the leaves to find those hidden gems that are begging to be picked.
Pick in the morning or in the evening to avoid any damage that the sun might to do you berries.
Then take them home and devour them in one sitting.

Bottom line…twist, tug, taste if you want, then place them lovingly into a large flat container. And don’t forget that even imperfect strawberries make for pretty delicious jams, ice creams and cupcakes!

Coming up next, we’re sharing our favorite Strawberry Ice Cream recipe!