Kitchen Confidence

How to Use Your Strawberry Tops

By • June 5, 2014 • 54 Comments

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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: Turn your strawberry tops 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 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 too 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 (54)

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about 1 month ago Kimberly Loomis

I feed them to my bunny. :)

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about 1 month 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.

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about 1 month ago Leslie Haasch

I just sat down to a glass of water where I'd done exactly this!

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8 months ago Patricia Macy

Has anybody heard that the pesticides etc. are concentrated in the "shoulders" of the strawberry? I used to just core out the green part and hull and have since started lopping off the top 20% or so. If this is false I'll find a new use for the discards.

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8 months ago AmberPixie

Never heard that, but I try to go for organic when I buy fruits. I've broken out in hives while picking strawberries in a pesticide-treated patch, so I'm more careful now.

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30 days ago Alex Txn

Organic strawberry is the best, it costs extra but it is well worth it.

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11 months ago AmberPixie

I dry mind to add to teas and such! They add a nice summer flavor to a cup of hot tea in the wintertime. http://pixiespocket.com...

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11 months ago kervin joel vinson

kate .all depends on how much flavor you looking to get .the more tops and longer it get to seep= more flavor

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11 months ago Kate Acker

Is there a certain ratio anyone recommends following of strawberry tops to water?

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11 months ago Marian Bull

I have to admit i've never measured mine -- I'd start with 4 parts water to 1 part strawberry tops, but that's a very looks estimation.

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11 months ago Rivka

I use them to infuse cheap balsamic vinegar. Then I reduce the vinegar to about 1/3 of its initial volume, and I have a lovely syrup for drizzling on mozzarella, watermelon, sour cherries, and pretty much everything else.

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11 months ago Sharon Simpson Thumann

OMG that sounds awesome and I will try it next time I buy strawberries.

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11 months ago baltimoregon

I had thought of this but then forgot to mention in my column today on infused waters: http://www.pressherald.... Thanks for the gorgeous, timely reminder!

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11 months ago Meghan Z

I freeze them for smoothies. Mmm!

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11 months ago Katie @ Produce On Parade

That's smart! I just blend them up in my smoothies when I use strawberries. Throw them in whole! :)

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11 months ago isabelle

I don't cut off the tops unless they are bad. I put them in the blender with the strawberries etc and make a smoothy. I've heard they have something beneficial in them although I can't remember what. They don't detract from the flavor of the smoothy.

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11 months ago Cookie16

Simple and brilliant.

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12 months ago Paula Zevin

GReat use for those strawberry tops! I'll try the water and maybe infuse them in gin and make summer slushes. BTW, you want to make sure that you don't just rinse the berries and tops, rather wash them - it will take care of the surface pesticides if you didn't get organic or grew your own.

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12 months ago monacake

simply brilliant! (oh, and delicious...)

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12 months ago Allyn

I did this and added some mint leaves yesterday. Completely brilliant!

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12 months ago Marian Bull

Oh, that's so smart! I love strawberry and mint -- or basil! -- together. Will have to give that a try.

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12 months ago laurenlocally

Lauren is Food52's Director of Partnerships.

Did this tonight and LOVED it. Great one MB!

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12 months ago Marian Bull

So happy to hear it!

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12 months ago erin

chickens go berserk for them too. but now i may not share, ha!

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12 months ago Kathy R

I just use the tip of a paring knife to core strawberries so that I don't have any waste.

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12 months ago Red Clog Chef

That's exactly what I do! No waste :)

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11 months ago Karin

Same here, Kathy.

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12 months ago Lisa miracle

Wish I read this yesterday