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How to Use Your Strawberry Tops

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: We're re-running one of our favorite summertime, zero-waste kitchen tips. Don't toss those strawberry tops: Turn them into a sweet, refreshing infused water.

Strawberry Tops

When it comes to trimming and hulling your strawberries, it’s important to be exacting. If you slice off too much top, you’re essentially wadding up five-dollar bills and pulverizing them in your garbage disposal. Strawberries are expensive, and throwing out too much of their flesh feels both wasteful and sad.

More: Before you buy a punnet (or four) of berries, read these links.

But strawberry season—that warming time between spring and summer when you want to run barefoot through a field while waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care—isn’t a time to be type A. It’s a time to be carefree! So, if you’ve been a little nonchalant with your berries and lopped off too much top, here’s a way to use them up instead of throwing them out.

How to Make Strawberry Water

Just take your strawberry tops—which you’ve already rinsed, right?—and dump them into a large jar. Fill it with water, then let it sit for an hour or so. It will create a softly infused, fruity water—a rounder, sweeter version of the cucumber stuff that you’re used to drinking at fancy spas, as you sit next to strangers in robes and jam out to Enya. It will keep you refreshed all summer, and it will make your strawberry budget stretch a little farther.

Now breathe easy, chill out, and go run through that field.

How to Use Strawberry Tops

Tell us: Do you know of any other uses for strawberry tops? 

Photos by James Ransom

Tags: how-to & DIY, strawberries, berries, food scraps, water, infused, infusions, spring, summer, drinks, strawberry tops

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Comments (74)


19 days ago Linda Hendrex

Then leaves are the most nutritious part of the strawberry, and I never discard them. They are great in smoothies, and I also put them into salads. When I eat a whole strawberry, I eat the leaves as well.


19 days ago Sheila

I find the thought of soaking the stems and leaves disgusting.


26 days ago ilse

When I hull my strawberries I never have any berry left at the blossom. I don't know what you are doing to yours but I just remove the green, nothing else.


30 days ago Janet Suber

If I'm making a smoothie, the whole berry goes in. But if I'm trimming them, I have three corgis who insist they get first dibs.


about 1 month ago nano zachary

I love the brief strawberry season here in Maine..and I try to use every single part of them. many years ago i found a recipe for fresh strawberry pie...using the tops to make a jell for the base of the keep the berries stable...and then pour the rest of the gel over the top...this reminded me of the strawberry pie I used to love as a kid at the fancy restaurant at Saks Fifth Ave in NY.


about 1 month ago Kevin Chung Lin

I might try this......


2 months ago Gennifer Miller

For those of you already doing this, how many times can you refill the water portion before the strawberries rot or whatever?


2 months ago Jamie

My husband and I just started experimenting with infusing vodka and bourbon with the extra strawberry tops. I drizzled in the drippings from stawberry-rhubarb pie as well. The vodka quick cordial came out excellent, and the bourbon is still brewing.


2 months ago Bevi

The strawberry hulling hack, as described in this link, pushes out perfect little thin cylinders of strawberry core, plus the stem: http://www.foodandwine...


2 months ago Marian Bull

Not everybody is perfect!!!!!!!!!


2 months ago Joe Morelli

Goodness. Why don't we just trim our strawberries appropriately and not worry about infused water? If you have enough on the trimmings to do this, 'You're doing it all wrong!' (am I allowed to quote CHOW on here?)


3 months ago lastnightsdinner

My husband gave a talk at the Homewood Museum in Baltimore recently, and the bar guys from Woodberry Kitchen (who provided the refreshments) told us that they use all of their strawberry tops for their strawberry shrub.


3 months ago Laura415

Awesome:) Also love a strawberry balsamic vinegar shrub.
Over ice cream-so good!


3 months ago napa nancy

I am experimenting with the strawberry tops in red vinegar.


3 months ago Elaine DiRico

Since strawberries are in the rose family, they produce hydrogen cyanide to ward off pests. Tiny amount, but lectins, another self-made insecticide can compound the problem. Both are located in the stems and leaves and is emitted as a gas when a berry is picked. If you're using the stems and leaves, letting them sit out in open air for a while may reduce it.


3 months ago Laura415

I often make strawberry flavored vinegar with sugar in it to make shrubs. They make refreshing soda syrups. As far as strawberry waste I got a simple tool that looks like a little serrated scoop. Scoops the green top away and leaves all of the fruit.


3 months ago Ida Federico Hammer

I put them in a quart size bag, punch holes in it and stick it in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.


3 months ago Woofgang

I buy organic and use the tops much like others have stated. Freeze them and use them in a smoothie.


3 months ago KathyTS

My chinchilla LOVES strawberry tops!


5 months ago Kimberly Loomis

I feed them to my bunny. :)


5 months ago Anna Caporael

At our restaurant, Pizza Maria, in Portland, Oregon, we toss them in vodka for a cocktail. We store in the fridge and shake it for a few days. Then we make a Strawberry Shrub Cocktail with the infused vodka, house-made strawberry syrup, red wine vinegar and soda.


3 months ago Maegen Loring

Way to go anna! Pizza Maria sounds like a creative place.