By: Sue Soderman, P.H.Ec.
Strawberries are the most popular of all the berries. This sweet juicy treat is easy to pop in your mouth. Their season is short and is dependent on how the Spring has progressed. They are best eaten just after being washed but they can be made into desserts, jams, jellies , muffins, sauces or sliced on top of cereal or a salad. Because of their bright red colour and intense sweet flavour, they are a natural for eye and taste appeal when added to foods.
As far as Nutrition goes , the strawberry is a good source of Vitamin C and Potassium. It is a relatively good source of fibre, antioxidants and overall helps the body heal wounds and resist infections. As it (Vitamin C) aids in the absorption of Iron , it helps maintain healthy capillaries , bones, skin and teeth. Its Potassium content helps maintain the fluid balance in the body and a normal blood pressure. Strawberries are low in calories and a good source of a particular fibre, pectin a soluble fibre that helps lower cholesterol.
Strawberries have a short growing season starting in June and running through to the middle or late July. There are more than 13 million pounds of strawberries grown each year. You should buy strawberries in season for the best flavour. The berries should be plump,dry , firm well shaped and uniformly coloured. They should be bright red in colour.
When buying local strawberries in season there are a few tips to follow to ensure the best value for your money. First check the fruit and discard any smashed or moldy berries. Gently blot with a paper towel and return to the container. Store in the refrigerator for a few days. To prolong their enjoyment you might consider freezing your berries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen transfer the frozen berries to freezer bags. Label, date and store in the freezer until ready to use. Strawberries can be added to muffin and pancake batter or pureed with milk, yogurt or fruit juice to make a smoothie.
You can buy strawberries picked in your local grocery store or market. Why not venture out to a U-pick farm and pick your own berries. Enjoy strawberries while they are around as the season is short!
Eat Right Ontario
Farmers Markets Ontario
Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods