Preparing strawberries quickly

Real food strawberry with hull removed image
Strawberry washed, with hull removed. Ready to use or prepare for storage.

If you are trying to eat local strawberries year round (see why you should), you will be preparing a lot of berries at one time. Fresh locally-grown strawberries have a VERY short shelf, so you should plan to buy only what you can prepare immediately. Preparation is really quite simple, with removing the hull the only time-consuming part of the process.

I’ve tried a few special tools for hulling strawberries, but I always come back to a simple steak knife. If you have a really good paring knife, try that. Aside: for as much cooking as I do, and as much as I cherish my good chef’s knife, I have never owned a decent paring knife.

Wash the strawberries in cold water before you remove the hull (the hull prevents water from saturating the berry). I fill a sink with cold water and place the berries into the water. Immediately, I move the berries to my second sink to drain.

Real food removing strawberry hull image
Removing a strawberry hull with a knife

Twist the calyx, the green part at the top of the strawberry (I had to look up what that part is properly named) to remove. You can remove the calyx with the hull, but I find that if I take it off first, I cut less of the strawberry away. Using a narrow-bladed knife held at almost 90 degrees to the top of the berry, cut into the top of the strawberry outside of the hull area. Use a finger or two right along the knife edge to stabilize.

Twist the strawberry to cut, not the knife. The knife can go in quite deeply, as there is a hollow area containing the hull. My other hand should be holding the strawberry in this photo, but I needed one hand for the camera.)

When you have cut all the way around the hull, a quick twist of the knife will remove the stem end and the hull in one move. It may take a few tries to make the cut and remove the hull smoothly, but it is worth the practice. I can remove hulls from strawberries almost as fast as I can pick them up.

You end up with a very clean berry, with minimal waste (see above). Once you have the hull removed, you can use berry whole or slice. Note: Do not remove the hull until you are ready to use the strawberries. Berries will last longer when they are unwashed and with hulls intact.



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