JERSEY FRESH STRAWBERRIES IN SEASON
Spring Fruit Harvest In Full SwingFor Immediate Release: June 4, 2009
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(PRINCETON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and Joseph Sofia, Wegmans Division Manager for New Jersey, today celebrated the Jersey Fresh strawberry harvest at Wegmans of Princeton.
“New Jersey’s strawberry season is only about a month long, so now is prime time to find Jersey Fresh strawberries at your local supermarket, roadside stand, community farmers market or pick-your-own farm,” said Secretary Fisher. “By purchasing this delicious spring fruit, consumers support and sustain the Garden State’s agriculture industry.”
New Jersey farmers began harvesting strawberries in mid-May and will continue through mid-June. Wegmans is among the supermarkets that carry Jersey Fresh strawberries. Throughout the growing season, Wegmans supports and promotes the famous Jersey Fresh brand.
Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray, Princeton Wegmans Produce Manager Scott Cooper, Secretary Fisher and Wegmans NJ Produce Supervisor Charlie Tombasco in front of the Jersey Fresh strawberries display at the Wegman of Princeton
“We know how important local produce is to our customers,” said Joe Sofia. “That’s why each of our stores works closely with nearby growers to be sure we are offering the best selection at the peak of perfection.”
In 2007, New Jersey produced 1.4 million pounds of strawberries valued at $3 million. There were 211 farms in the state growing 315 acres strawberries.
Strawberries are a part of a healthy diet, providing a good source of vitamin C. Strawberries should not be washed until ready to eat because their high water content, on top of the additional water, will result in a mushy berry. Once the caps are removed, an enzyme is released that destroys the vitamin C. Be certain to remove the caps after rinsing to prevent the strawberry from becoming waterlogged and from losing vitamin C content.
Look for strawberries that are plump and firm with a bright red color and natural shine. The size of the berry is not important; the color of the berry and the fragrance are the best indicators of flavor. Caps should be fresh, green and intact. Avoid strawberries with green or white color, or those that appear mushy, shriveled or leaky. Strawberries do not ripen after harvest, so they should be immediately stored in the refrigerator and picked as close to consumption time as possible.
When purchasing, check the carton for stains, which indicate over-ripeness. Remove the strawberries from the market or store container. Store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to three days. If a shallow container is not feasible, put paper towels between the layers. Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.
While delicious in baked goods, strawberries are tasty raw, especially when served with a liqueur or when dipped in chocolate. Preserve as a jam, or easily freeze by coating in a water and lemon juice mix.
To find Jersey Fresh strawberries and other Jersey Fresh products at farm markets or pick-your-own farms, visit the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.
Following are recipes for strawberries, found in “Jersey Fresh Cooks,” a cookbook prepared in 2001 for the Department of Agriculture through residents’ submissions.
Jersey Summer Fruit Crisp
10 cups cut-up Jersey Fresh peaches, strawberries, plums, blueberries (any combination)
½ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
¼ cup Laird’s Apple Jack (apple brandy produced in Colts Neck)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 TBS plus ¼ cup flour (divided use)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (divided into ½ cups)
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with non-stick spray. Gently toss fruit with sugar, Apple Jack, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with 3 TBS flour. (If fruit is very juicy, drain some or add a bit more flour.) Toss gently. Spread fruit in prepared pan; set aside.
Topping: In food processor or blender, process ½ cup walnuts until fine; transfer to a bowl; add oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining flour. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into oat mixture until crumbly. Add remaining chopped walnuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over fruit. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm, with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 12.
Contributed by: Patricia Mack, Hackensack, NJ
2 ½ cups of Jersey Fresh strawberries
1 ½ cups of water
½ cup sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp fresh lemon peel, grated, zest only
½ cup Jersey Fresh white wine
Prepare the day before or several hours before serving. Puree 2 cups of strawberries in a blender. Slowly add water. Slowly add the ½ cup of sugar, the lemon juice, lemon peel and white wine and blend well. Refrigerate. Chill well. Before serving garnish with ½ cup remaining strawberries sliced in half. Serves 6.
Contributed by: Phyllis L. Marchand, Princeton, NJ