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I often need to hull and slice large batches of strawberries. But hulling by cutting a cone out of the top of the berry with a paring knife can be slow work. How can I quickly remove the core (the hard white part near the stem) from the strawberry?

What do professional chefs and kitchens do to quickly hull strawberries?

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I don't know what professionals do but if I am going to slice the strawberries anyway then I slice them in half and take the hull out of each side as a quick triangular cut. –  Sobachatina May 15 '12 at 16:59
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Why do you remove the center? I eat it. If the strawberry is terribly unripe, then I cut off the whole top up to the place where it turns pink, but leave the lower part of the core inside. –  rumtscho May 15 '12 at 17:14
    
Go to Amazon and search for "strawberry tool". There are several for under $10. –  Cos Callis May 15 '12 at 17:55
    
@rumtscho: On occasion I've purchased huge mutant strawberries where the green/white "stem" goes all the way down to the center; they were very difficult to hull properly, maybe that's what Katie has. –  Aaronut May 15 '12 at 18:14
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Generally I get "Hood" strawberries (from Oregon or Washington), which are softer, juicier, and have a shorter lifespan than the more common California berries. The white core of strawberries has a different (undesirable) texture and taste. –  KatieK May 15 '12 at 18:51

6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I don't usually hull strawberries, but when I do I use a straw. The idea is that you push the straw up through the tip of the strawberry and it comes out at the stem. For pictures you can see http://amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com/2010/06/hulling-strawberries-with-straw.html are just Google "hull strawberries with a straw"

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That is ingenious. Is it fast? –  Cerberus May 15 '12 at 19:06
    
I think so - but I haven't used a "strawberry tool" so I don't have much to compare it to. For me it's faster than trying to use a paring knife to carve out the stem and it takes less skill then using the spoon technique (plus I've had the spoon mangle berries that were very ripe). –  djmadscribbler May 15 '12 at 19:09
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Perhaps that's where their name comes from! –  Mien May 16 '12 at 13:56

I always use a teaspoon to scoop out the green. Going any deeper than 5 mm is unnecessary anyway (it's only the green and the little stalk that are unpleasant), but you can go as deep as you like. It is fast and it works perfectly. You press the spoon's edge into your thumb, so to speak, with the strawberry in between. You can easily continue to hold it in the right position in your right hand while you pick up new strawberries with your left hand. When I found this out years ago, I couldn't understand why the whole world wasn't using this, just as with grating garlic. The only thing quicker than a teaspoon would be a teaspoon with thinner (= sharper) edges.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Pictures from Thepioneerwoman.com

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Doesn't a spoon destroy the berries, rather than cut? Perhaps you and Ree Drummond have sturdier strawberries than I do... –  KatieK May 15 '12 at 18:57
    
@KatieK: No? They become more or less as in the picture. I guess if they're extremely ripe it becomes hard (then I would personally not like them anyway). –  Cerberus May 15 '12 at 19:05
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I think a lot depends on the edge thickness and the ripeness of the berries. Personally I have mangled quite a few berries using this technique because the spoon edge wasn't sharp enough and just deformed the berry. –  djmadscribbler May 15 '12 at 22:22
    
@djmadscribbler: I don't know...I have used this method exclusively with strawberries for years, and never a problem. I wouldn't use it with other berries, probably. –  Cerberus May 15 '12 at 22:37
    
I'm guessing the thickness of the spoon's bowl will be a factor -- I have a bunch of different spoons, and I'm guessing the thicker ones wouldn't be useful ... but I'd be inclined to use a grapefruit spoon (as I have one). –  Joe May 16 '12 at 23:01

Never used it, but I'm assuming these exist for a reason: enter image description here

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Has anyone used these? –  KatieK May 15 '12 at 18:53
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Looks like you waste a lot with that... –  nico May 15 '12 at 19:18
    
I had an older version of this (my great-grandmother's) but as it was silver plated it tarnished. Pictured in answer by SAJ14SAJ. I use that. Works great. Especially for large amounts as needed for jam. Was going to add photo of huller and slicer(a must for arthritic hands), but I don't know how to add a photo!! –  user19877 Aug 27 '13 at 14:47

Alton Brown recommends a star-shaped tip from a pastry piping bag. He mentioned this in the Good Eats episode on strawberries, which has tons of good info on why hulling is important and the effects of not hulling.

piping bag star tips

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Try using the small end of a melon baller (AKA Parisienne scoop).

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All you really need to remove is the stem and leaves, so just a quick down and up cut (or a V, one cut from each side) will get it done, just wasting a little of the top of the berry on either side of the stem. I think it'll work better than using a spoon if you don't have a sharp/thin enough spoon and your berries are pretty ripe; otherwise they're roughly equivalent.

For another dedicated gadget option, a tomato/strawberry corer/huller:

strawberry huller

I tried my grandmother's a couple times; it works fine, though I'm personally happy with a paring knife and a tiny bit of waste.

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