Most people would agree that strawberries are delicious. In fact, you can find strawberry recipes that are perfect for virtually any occasion. The beautiful and tempting red fruits have a long and storied history (see the Strawberry Plant page for more details), but there are a few minor annoyances when it comes to getting the berries from the field into your tummy. First, one has to do some strawberry picking, and, then, the strawberry hulling must commence. Both can be tedious. This post, however, is going to deal primarily with getting those little green caps off the picked berries. Numerous methods will be mentioned, including one that you've probably never considered!
So, this post is all about how to hull strawberries. Let the fun begin…
How to Hull Strawberries: Intro
Before diving into the methods, a brief introduction seems warranted. What exactly are we talking about here? Well, as one might imagine, there are myriads of names for the small, vegetative green things that are affixed atop strawberries. This green “hull” on each strawberry is scientifically called a calyx, but they are more commonly called hulls, tops, caps, hats, or leaves. While they are totally edible, they are not very palatable. So, it is a good idea to hull strawberries prior to consumption. The following are methods of de-capping your strawberries:
Hull Strawberries with a Straw
One of the “cleanest” ways to hull a strawberry is using a straw. Simply line the straw straight up at the tip of the strawberry and push it through the center of the berry until the cap “pops” off. You have to use a straw that has some strength as straws that are too flimsy will bend prior to accomplishing the job. Oftentimes, the tip of a strawberry may not be ripe or may be hard and sour. Using a straw to hull also removes the tip of the strawberry and can do away with less-than-desirable tips as well. However, some strawberry flesh is lost this way. But, if you line the calyx up correctly, less flesh at the top of the strawberry is lost compared to the methods mentioned subsequently. See the picture to the right and also at the top of the page for the means and results of this method.
To employ this easy method most effectively, you should consider getting some inexpensive stainless steel frozen drink straws. This brand works exceptionally well and is strong enough to make the process quick and simple.
Hull Strawberries with Your Fingers
Strawberries can also be hulled with one's fingers. If you have long finger nails, they can be used to simply dig out or pinch out the hull. But, this is often messy, and can be unhealthy if the host of microbiological organisms hiding beneath your nails are transmitted onto the strawberry. And, if just the leaves of the calyx are removed using the fingertips, the coarse and knobby residual at the insertion will likely produce an unpleasant tactile sensation on sensitive tongues.
Hull Strawberries with Your Teeth
Or, the hull can be bitten off and “spitooied” into the trash or elsewhere. I don't recommend this method either. You might not mind employing this method for your own harvest, but each step is unnecessarily messy. And, surely, most people for whom you may prepare or serve strawberries will appreciate the use of a more civilized method.
Hull Strawberries with a Knife
Most people simply use a paring knife or a kitchen knife to do the tedious work of removing the unwanted strawberry greens. The green tops block sunlight from assisting in the ripening of the flesh immediately under them, so using a knife allows the extra flexibility of removing any unripe areas (or bad spots) on each berry. Be careful, though, as using sharp kitchen implements can cause significant injury. It is easier than you think to slice your finger near to the bone while cutting the tops off of strawberries.
Hull Strawberries with a Strawberry Huller
If you are willing to spend a small amount of money to get a specialized tool, the 21st century has seen gadgetry advance to a level ne'er before witnessed. The host of varied-yet-functional strawberry hullers available today would cause an 18th century farmer or cook to have catatonic response. But, being erudite yourself, why not simply check out your available options by looking at these strawberry hullers.
How to Hull Strawberries: Conclusion
Whether you pick your own strawberries or buy strawberries from a store, you are most likely going to need to hull them prior to using them. So, pick the method above that works best for you, hull a strawberry, and get busy cooking with the world-famous strawberry. And, don't forget, if you need a recipe or two for utilizing your strawberry haul, be sure to browse our categorized recipe section to find one that is sure to hit the spot.