Strawberries bruise easily in transit, so buy locally grown ones if you can—or better still, pick them yourself if you live near a farm. Look for bright, plump berries that are fully colored, with bright green leaves still attached. Once home, stash your berries in the fridge—layered with paper towels—and wait to rinse them until just before using (the berries are less apt to rot that way).
Drizzle fresh strawberries with a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar or sprinkle them with sugar and a generous dose of fruity red wine like Beaujolais. For a quick dessert sauce that’s great over vanilla ice cream or fruit salad, purée fresh strawberries, strain, and flavor with a little sugar and lemon juice. Or make a fresh fruit tart by lining a baked tart shell with pastry cream or lemon curd and arranging sliced strawberries on top.