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How to Hull or Core Strawberries
Hulling or coring strawberries—removing the green stem, or calyx, from the top of the berry—makes them more elegant and easier to eat when served plain. It's a better strategy than simply slicing off the top of the berry because it preserves more of the fruit, so hulling is typically the first step in any strawberry recipe.
No matter how you're eating strawberries, you want to start with fresh, ripe berries. Try to taste berries before you buy them because strawberries can look gorgeous, red, and shiny but taste dull. If you can't taste the berries, smell them. They should smell—you guessed it!—like strawberries.
Give the strawberries a good rinse just before you're going to use them and gently pat them until the berries are thoroughly dry.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
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Insert a Sharp Knife Next to the Stem Cap
Hold a strawberry in your left hand and a sharp paring knife in your right hand (reverse it if you're left-handed). For the most control, hold the knife on the blade just below the handle. Insert the tip of the knife into the strawberry next to the stem cap. Angle the knife tip toward the center core of the berry.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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Turn the Strawberry
Turn the strawberry to guide the knife around the stem-cap, keeping the knife tip angled towards the center core of the strawberry. This will cut out, rather than off, the stem and its fibrousness.
This part is important, so it bears repeating: Turn the strawberry, not the knife. It's the same motion as peeling apples with a paring knife or running a spatula around the edge of a cake pan. Pros know to hold the utensil still and move the object; you create the angle you want and then use that angle.
When cutting into the berry, create a cone shape tapering into the strawberry. This removes the stem and the tough bits just below it without sacrificing too much fruit. When done, the stem should pop right off/out.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
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The Straw Trick
Another strawberry-hulling method uses a straw to push straight through the bottom of the fruit up to the top, where the stem will pop right out. However, this method will poke a hole through the whole berry, so it's less than ideal when presentation counts.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Serve hulled strawberries as they are, with cream or balsamic vinegar or powdered sugar. Try a real treat by dipping them in sour cream or crème fraîche and then in brown sugar.
Hulled strawberries really shine, however, when used in baked goods and salads. You save a maximum of the delicious fruit while getting rid of the inedible stem and the tough part directly below it. A few ways to serve up strawberries include:
- Adding hulled and sliced strawberries, as well as orange segments, to a simple arugula salad
- Folding mashed strawberries into sweetened whipped cream to make strawberry fool
- Combining hulled strawberries with chopped chiles, add salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of lime juice for a fresh strawberry salsa
- Bake Strawberry Ricotta Muffins
- Blend up a Strawberry Almond Smoothie
- Mash strawberries in sparkling water, add sugar to taste, and enjoy a homemade strawberry soda