If you're like me, prepping strawberries is something you do on autopilot — washing the berries, slicing off then tossing the tops in the trash, and diving into your bounty of juicy berries without another thought. It's time to revise this plan with one major change: Stop being so quick to throw out those strawberry tops. They still have plenty of life left in them!
Here's why it's worth saving them and the sweetest ways to put them to work.
Why You Should Save Strawberry Tops
Most of us are accustomed to lobbing off the top of strawberries before eating or baking, but the whole berry — flesh, leaves, stem, and all — is totally edible. Eating the green tops out of hand isn't appealing to most people (me included), but that doesn't mean you should be so quick to toss them in the compost or trash. There are plenty of other ways to put them to work to pull out every last drop of sweet berry flavor and really get the most bang for your buck.
Don't have a plan to use those tops right now?
Stash them in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to a few days, or in the freezer for a few months, then pull them out when you're ready to use them.
Sweet Ways to Use Strawberry Tops
When you slice off the top of a strawberry you're left with a mixture of red and white flesh, plus a tuft of leafy greens, and most importantly lots of sweet berry flavor. My favorite way to use strawberry tops is infusing liquids, like water, vinegar, kombucha, and booze.
- Infuse water: Love that fancy, fruit-infused water at the spa? This is the easiest way to make it at home. Add the strawberry tops to a glass jar, cover with water, and let it sit for about an hour before sipping.
- Infuse vinegar: Use strawberry tops to give your favorite vinegar a fast and fancy twist. Cover the berry tops with vinegar (white wine, red wine, and balsamic vinegar work best), let it sit for about an hour, then use the infused vinegar for dressings and sauces.
- Infuse booze: Kick up your favorite spirit, like vodka, rum, or gin, with a pale pink hue and the sweet scent of strawberries. Cover the strawberry tops with your booze of choice, let it sit for about two days, then strain and shake up a summertime cocktail.
- Flavor kombucha: If you're using strawberry to flavor your kombucha, don't neglect the tops. You can still pull lots of that ripe berry flavor from them.
- Blend into a smoothie: If you jump at the chance to get kale and spinach into your smoothies, consider strawberry tops an extra dose of greens. Instead of cutting off the top, drop the whole berries in the blender.
Get inspired: A Boozy Reason to Save Your Strawberry Tops
Recipes to Try with Strawberry-Infused Booze
Your turn! Do you save strawberry tops? What are your most clever ways to use them?