Strawberries are the sweet-smelling fruit commonly used in cakes, pastries, and other desserts. You’ve most-likely tried strawberry-flavored cheesecakes, shortcake, ice cream, or milkshakes, but do you really know what strawberries taste like in their purest form?
Do they taste as sweet as they smell? In this article, we’ll tackle all this and more.
What Do Strawberries Taste Like?
The flavor of strawberries can vary dramatically based on their ripeness, the individual variety, and how they’re grown.
Strawberries that are in season and at peak ripeness are fruity, sweet, and juicy, with a little bit of acidity. Bite into one of these plump and juicy red berries and you’ll get a big burst of sweetness in your mouth.
However, many store-bought strawberries these days are picked before they were fully ripened. Afterwards, they are packed in a cold warehouse and shipped all over the country. This often results in a strawberry with very little taste
But if you get lucky, buy from the right grocery, and purchase when they’re in season, you can often find flavorful strawberries.
If you want sweeter strawberries, go wild! Wild strawberries taste a lot sweeter than store-bought or farm-grown ones. Here’s why:
Did you notice that strawberries are somehow offered year-round? That’s because strawberry breeders have worked to develop strawberries that are uniform in size and shape, are immune from disease, and have a long shelf-life.
While they successfully achieved those aspects, somewhere along the way they also got rid of other genes that give wild strawberries their luscious, sweet flavor.
So when possible, buy your strawberries in season. Or you can also go with frozen if you’re making smoothies, sherbet, desserts, strawberry milk, or just putting them in your morning oatmeal.
Trivia time: Ever wonder where that distinct strawberry scent comes from? Well, that sweet and caramel-like aroma comes from the combination of the two molecules, furaneol and mesifuran.
How To Make Strawberries Taste Even Better
The easiest way to get the best tasting strawberries is to ripen them. For strawberries to reach their peak sweetness, they need to have a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, and only ripe ones have this quality. To explain this further, let’s talk a bit of science.
The hormone called auxin ripens strawberries. When its activity levels peak, the cell walls in the berries break, releasing a sweet and juicy flavor.
That’s why riper strawberries are sweeter. As they ripen, their sugar content shoots up from 5% to 6-9% and their acidity decreases.
You may find this shocking, but a little bit of black pepper will make strawberries taste a lot better. Pepper, in small doses, enhances the strawberry’s flavor and neutralizes its tartness, making it sweeter, richer, and almost like candy. It also gives the berry a mildly hot aftertaste that is 100% fantastic.
Don’t believe us? Go ahead, try it – slice a strawberry in half, sprinkle some ground black pepper on it, and take a bite. Divine!
Here’s another addition that makes a huge difference when eating strawberries: balsamic vinegar. This vinegar has a nice mixture of tangy and sweet, which complements the flavors of strawberries very well. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the tear-shaped fruit and it will transform into a sweet and even more irresistible berry.
You might think the vinegar will overpower the strawberries with its pungent taste and smell, but don’t worry – you won’t even notice it. Unlike cream, vinegar isn’t fatty, so it will not cover up that beautiful berry flavor. All it does is provide a tangy contrast to bring out the sweetness in the berry. Yum!
If this idea intrigues you, here’s how to achieve the technique: Wash the berries well and place them in a bowl. Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle some sugar over them. Stir them to ensure every berry gets coated with the mixture. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 1-4 hours. Then eat and enjoy!
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