I love spring, don’t you?…. next to fall, it’s my favorite season. Especially because we get to enjoy luscious, fresh strawberries! Local strawberries have been gracing produce stands inside our markets and at farmers’ markets here in California for the last month. If you’re lucky enough to live close to where they’re grown, like those of us in California where 80% of the strawberries in the U.S. are grown, they’ll be extra sweet as they won’t be picked too early.
As Americans, we eat an average of 3 ½ pounds of fresh strawberries a year, just plain right out of the cartons they’re sold in, adorning shortcakes along with a dollop of whipping cream, in ice creams, smoothies, and milks, fruit salads, on top of pancakes or French toast and more.
You can get my recipe HERE!
Did you know that the strawberry isn’t a true berry? A botanist will confirm that a berry has its seeds inside.
Here are some other great little tidbits about the amazing strawberry:
- The majestic strawberry proudly wears its some 200 seeds on the outside – no wonder those itty bitty seeds get stuck between our teeth.
- Ancient Romans thought them to have medicinal powers and used strawberries to treat a wide range of illnesses from depression to sore throats.
- The French believe them to be an aphrodisiac, I mean what woman isn’t enamored with her sweetheart when he combines strawberries with chocolate or champagne?
In a recent study, beautiful strawberry is a rich source of Vitamin C and manganese, and has a good amount of folate (B9) and potassium. They’re very rich in antioxidants and may have benefits for blood sugar control and heart health.
- One cup of whole strawberries contains less than 50 calories and is very low in carbs (> 100g), making them a sweet healthy snack.
- While strawberries contain simple sugars, the 3 grams of fiber per cup are both soluble and insoluble. Be careful, eating a high amount of fiber can have some unwanted side effects such as intestinal discomfort, gas, lethargy, or diarrhea, so extra careful with how many kids eat
- Did you know, according to the American Kennel Club, strawberries are safe for your dog? Just make sure they’re fresh – never canned or strawberries in syrup. Watch how many you give them – strawberries should be a treat! And, definitely do not give them grapes or raisins – they’re on the no-no list for pets.
- Strawberries also are great for the skin! Strawberries contain the anti-oxidant ellagic acid, which prevents collagen destruction! Who knew? Collagen destruction means wrinkle formation! Strawberries are used in masks to fight oily skin and to nourish and revitalize your skin (oily or not!) The juice is very effective in lightening blemishes and scars from acne, too!
Strawberries are always at the top of the pesticide list! You can remove the residue from sprays on the outside of the fruit by soaking your berries 20 minutes in a large bowl with 4 parts water to 1part white plain vinegar (then rinse and pat dry) – always do this just before serving (it’s always best to refrigerate unwashed berries and wash before serving).
What’s important to know is that the pesticide sprays used to protect these delectable fruits from bugs doesn’t just land on the fruit and leaves – it soaks down into the grown! And so as the plant uptakes nutrients from the soil into the plant as it grows, so does it uptake the poison – and, it’s inside your fruit as well! You can’t wash that away! So, always choose organic!