Strawberry Dreaming


Nutrition packed strawberries

One of my favorite things about this time of year is strawberry season. Did you know strawberries have vitamin C, fiber, iron, calcium and protein? That is one power packed fruit! And they taste so good. Biting into a fresh strawberry from the garden is like biting into a taste of spring. (ok, I realize it is now summertime but you get the idea!)

There is nothing like the sweet, juicy taste of a ripe strawberry. And there is nothing more disappointing than the crunchy bland taste of the white inside of an unripe and out of season strawberry. That is why late spring and early summer are the prime time to enjoy this seasonal treat. And if you buy them in bulk you can create homemade ice creams and jams in no time and enjoy them for weeks and months to come.

When buying strawberries, you want to look for strawberries that are bright red (with no white or green around the stem), fragrant, and plump, with no soft spots. And when wondering whether to go organic, the safe rule of thumb is to choose organic when you will be eating the skin of the fruit, such as in the case of the strawberry.

And here is a must know tip: if you are going to be enjoying them right away, it is best not to refrigerate them. To store them, lay the berries flat on a paper-towel-lined plate or in a plastic container and refrigerate for up to 2-5 days. The paper towel will help to absorb the moisture created. Do not rinse or hull them until ready to use.

Another great trick for enjoying strawberries throughout the year is to freeze them. I have found this method for freezing them particularly helpful when making smoothies. As the frozen fruit actually yields a more milkshake like quality of the smoothie. Simply wash and drain the strawberries in a colander. Then place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, with just a little bit of space between the berries. Place the trays in the freezer overnight. The next morning, remove the trays and transfer the berries to a freezer safe bag or container. This way the berries are not stuck together and you can place them in serving size bags as well to make your life even that much easier.

So the next time you pass a roadside fruit stand displaying a sign for fresh strawberries, or you pass by some at your local farmers market, make the stop for this tasty spring treat. Not only do they taste good and have countless recipe options, these little power packed treats are incredibly good for you. Some recent studies have shown a link between eating foods such as strawberries, which contain anthocyanins, and preventing heart disease and inhibiting tumor growth. I could go on and on about the health benefits, but the real persuasion is in the taste. Try some fresh, juicy strawberries and you will not be disappointed!

Other strawberry tips or favorite recipes anyone?

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