top of page

Feasting Florida

Enjoying a sustainable, organic, lifestyle indulging in all Florida's Cuisines throughout the seasons

Florida Strawberries

Florida Strawberries


Strawberries are members of the rose family. The berries are red, juicy, and conical shaped. Strawberries are heavy fruit for their size and there stems are very long coming off the bush. They are called strawberries because originally straw was put around and under the plant to prevent the berry from sitting directly on the soil- which would cause it to spoil rapidly. Strawberries are the only fruit that bear their seeds on the outside- almost 200 of them per fruit.


Strawberries were first cultivated in the 13th century by the Romans. The Massachusetts Indians introduced the 17th century settlers to the North American wild strawberry at Plymouth Colony. Strawberries prefer to be grown in temperate zones. The Massachusetts Indians introduced the 17th century settlers to the North American wild strawberry at Plymouth Colony. The American Colonist invented the dessert of Strawberry Shortcake. The most common variety is a wild Virginia strawberry, crossed with a Chilean variety. In Florida- we grow hybrid varieties- the most common ones being Oso Grand, Sweet Charlie, and Rosa Linda, and a few more.


In Florida, the largest production area for strawberries is located near Plant City, Florida, the central West coast of the state. That area is classified as the strawberry capital of the world. Florida Strawberries are considered winter berries- in season from Thanksgiving to Easter- peaking in crop production in Early March usually.

Today Strawberries are commercially grown over packed raised beds that are covered in plastic to ensure the berries don’t sit on the soil. You cannot grow a strawberry from seed. They must be started from a clipping, or runner of another plant.



Generally speaking, small berries are usually more flavorful than the giant berries. They are the best when plump, and firm, with even color and a gloss to the skin. They must be picked when ripe, because they do not ripen once picked. Today, all commercial berries are sold in plastic clamshell containers. In order to prevent over handling of the fruit- the pickers pack the clamshells in the field. From there, they are brought to chill rooms that contain blast chillers to immediately drop the temperature of the fruit down to preserve their freshness. Strawberries should be stored cold, about 32°F to 36°F and about 95% humidity.

Strawberries taste best at room temperature- so remove them from refrigeration about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve them

Fraise des bois is the Strawberries of the woods. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, potassium, and iron. Strawberries also contain a high quantity of pectin- which is why it lends to easy jam and jelly making. (Strawberry jam is the number 2 preferred jam in the United States!)

Strawberries Affinities


Balsamic vinegar, especially with black pepper


Berries, especially blueberries and raspberries




Citrus, especially oranges, and lemons

Grand Marnier






Red wine



Sweet cream




Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, and Candied Pecans

Chef Jennifer Denlinger

Also Found on

12 oz mixed salad greens, or spinach, rinsed and dried thoroughly

6 tbsp crumbed Chevŕe (soft goat cheese) or feta cheese

6 tbsp Candied Pecans (see recipe for Candied Pecans)

½ cup Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette or as desired (see recipe for Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette)

12 large ripe Florida Strawberries, hulled and sliced or quartered

Thinly sliced red onion or Strawberry Onion- if desired

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Candied Pecans

1 tbsp unsalted butter

¼# pecan pieces

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch kosher salt

Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauté pan over medium heat.Combine cinnamon, salt, and cayenne.When butter is bubbly and brown, add pecans.Stir to coat pecans evenly.Toast in butter for 1 minute. Add an equal amount of sugar to the spice mixture. While stirring, sprinkle ¼ of the spice mixture.Stir until mixture is absorbed.Continue to add white sugar, while stirring, until all sugar is added or pecans are completely coated.Place pecans, out on lined sheet tray and dry completely.Makes about 1 cup.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup dark balsamic vinegar

1 cup Florida Strawberries, washed and hulled

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch granulated sugar

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place vinegar in a heavy bottomed non-reactive sauce pan and simmer over medium low heat until reduced to about ¼ cup.(Be careful not to let it burn). Place strawberries, vinegar reduction, sugar, salt and pepper into a blender.Puree until smooth.While the blender is running ,slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth.Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and sugar as desired.Makes about 2 ½ cups

  • In a large bowl put the salad greens. Season with salt and pepper. Add about ½ cup Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, or as desired. Toss to coat.

  • Distribute among chilled plates, if using or keep in bowl.

  • Sprinkle top with candied pecans, and onions, if using.

  • Place sliced strawberries on top, and sprinkle with goat cheese.

  • Serve extra vinaigrette on side.

Serves 6


Strawberry Onion Relish

Chef Jennifer Denlinger

Also Found on

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 large strawberry onions, diced into ½ inch cubes

1 pound of Florida Strawberries, pureed

1 tbsp granulated sugar, or to taste

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • In a heavy bottomed, non-reactive sauce pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently.

  • Cook the onions until they are soft, and the color of light brown sugar.

  • Add the strawberries, sugar, and salt and pepper.

  • Mix thoroughly and continue to cook over medium low heat until thick and the consistency of oatmeal. Adjust seasonings with sugar, salt, and pepper.

  • Serve warm, or room temperature.

  • Pair with fresh bread, or meats such as chicken breast, turkey, or seared duck breast.

Makes about 3 cups


Sweet Strawberry Risotto

Chef Jennifer Denlinger

Also Found on

½ cup Arborio Rice, or Risotto Rice

3 cups whole milk

Pinch kosher salt

2 egg yolks plus 2 tbsp whole milk

¾ cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, if desired

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pound Florida Strawberries, chopped

Whipped cream, or butter cookies for garnish, if desired

  • In a heavy bottomed, non-reactive saucepot, combine the sugar, milk, and rice.

  • Bring to a simmer and simmer until barely tender (not starchy tasting) about 20 minutes- stirring very often. Take care to not scorch the milk, or scrap up any brown bits from the pan.

  • Mix the egg yolks and 2 tbsp milk together, and stir in thoroughly.

  • Add the butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted. If not sweet enough- add more sugar. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rice has no more starchy taste and is very tender. If needed, add more milk.

  • Stir in the chopped strawberries, and cook until warmed through.

  • Served with whipped cream or crunchy butter cookies, if desired.

  • Serves 6-8 people.

© 2012 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved

Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2012, February 2). Florida Strawberries. Retrieved from:

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page