So you got tart strawberries—here’s what to do next.
Credit: Victor Protasio

Strawberries are the gold standard of summertime fruit. A perfect strawberry is sweet, juicy, and a downright treat on a sweltering day. But, unfortunately, we’re not quite to peak strawberry season yet—or so I learned after visiting the farmer’s market last weekend.

I picked up a quart of strawberries only to come home, pop one in my mouth, and feel a majorly disappointed. These strawberries had displayed all the telltale signs of perfection: they were bright red, plump, and super fragrant. But, when I tried them, they were just...meh. They lacked the sweetness of a truly great strawberry, and were a little too tart for me to want to snack on.

This got me thinking: What else can you do with a bunch of not-so-great or unripe berries? Is there any way to save them, or are they destined for the garbage bin? Thankfully, after talking to my genius coworkers, I learned that there are several tricks to bring out the natural sweetness in even the tartest berries—here’s how.

Make Strawberry Syrup

Toss tart berries with a little sugar and reduce on the stovetop for a fresh strawberry syrup that’ll liven up your pancakes or make ice cream night feel way more special.

Make Popsicles

The creaminess of Greek yogurt and cream cheese disguises the flavor in lackluster strawberries. Try these cheesecake pops for a delicious sweet treat.

Roast ‘Em

Credit: Victor Protasio

Roasting strawberries brings out all their natural sweetness. Roasted strawberries are delicious tossed in salads, tucked into desserts, or blended into margaritas (our personal favorite!). Here's how to roast those berries.

Use Them in Drinks

Credit: Photo: Jason Varney

Whether you’re feeling boozy or not, strawberries are the perfect compliment to your favorite warm-weather sipper. We especially love this Berry-Infused Iced Tea or, for more festive occasions, this Strawberry-Lime Rickey.

Blend Them Into Soup

If you’re a gazpacho fan, you need to try our version: It’s made with strawberries instead of tomatoes for a refreshing and slightly sweet twist. Bonus? Even super-tart strawberries work in this dish. Get the recipe here.

Whip up a Smoothie

Credit: Photo: Jamie Vespa

This is the easiest way to use up a big batch of not-so-great strawberries. You can easily disguise their flavor with ingredients like creamy nut butter or other sweet fruits. Try our PB&J Smoothie or, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial, our Blueberry-Strawberry Smoothie Bowl. When you cut your strawberries, don’t throw away the leafy tops. Toss them into your smoothie like you would with other leafy greens such as kale or spinach.

Make Pickles

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Ok, we know this sounds a little weird, but pickled strawberries are seriously delicious. They add a pop of brightness to salads, sandwiches, tacos, salsas, and cocktails—but they’re just as good eaten straight out of the jar.