Beautiful heart shaped, red, and absolutely delicious, strawberries are a perfect addition to picnic and patio meals. The aforementioned traits had Ancient Romans declare the fruit as symbol for the goddess of love, beauty and fertility!
Believe it or not, the strawberry plant is actually a relative of the rose, a member of the Rosaceae family of the genus Fragaria. Its origins are hard to determine, as the plant has grown wild in many parts of the world. Its actual cultivation began in the 18th century; currently there are over 500 varieties of strawberry plants!
Strawberries aren’t hard to find year round, but (like most produce) are much more flavorful and cost effective when in season. The season extends from spring to mid summer.
½ cup serving (sliced, not whole) – 29 calories
• 7 g carbohydrate
• 2 g fiber
• 1 g protein
• 0 g fat
• 80 g water
Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C. 1 cup serving (which is by no means is hard to consume!) is a greater source of vitamin C when compared to an orange! Recommendations for this vitamin are 75-90mg/day. A ½ cup serving provides about 52 mg.
Vitamin C benefits:
• Helps our bodies absorb iron from plant sources (as much as four times!)
• Has a big role in our immune system, Helps keep our immune system healthy
• Antioxidant – scavenges damaging free radicals in our bodies. Since it is water soluble, it destroys free radicals in a lot of different areas of our bodies.
• Helps keep gums, bones, and muscles healthy
Those little seeds aren’t just for decoration; they are actually a source of fibre. Fibre helps keep a healthy gut, but also helps lower your blood cholesterol, stabilize your blood glucose levels, makes you feel full longer, and may even prevent some cancers.
Potassium is an essential mineral that is found in high amount in all fresh foods (especially fruits & veggies). Its primary functions in the human body are as follows:
• Maintains normal electrolyte and fluid balance
• Helps our muscles and nerves contract
• Aids in controlling blood pressure
Per calorie, strawberries are one of the best sources of potassium. (Yes, bananas are by far the most popular source of potassium – 425 mg.) The AI (adequate intake) is 4700 mg, a ½ cup serving of strawberries provides 134 mg, not a whole lot but every little bit counts!
Yet another fruit that is bursting with Phytochmicals! Ellegic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and aids cancer prevention by fighting free radicals in our bodies.
Strawberries also contain a fair amount of folate (21 DFE) and even have 14 mg of calcium (per serving).
How to Pick and Store:
Choose plump, firm, evenly colored, vivid red strawberries. They should be free of any mold or soft spots. Don’t think the bigger the better; most berries with the best flavor are smaller!
Store unwashed strawberries in a loosely covered container in the refrigerator. Strawberries are relatively perishable; therefore, it is best to purchase just prior to eating.
As with most berries, rinse just prior to use and remove any moldy or soft berries. Then if not eaten fresh, use in a variety of recipes.
We’ll be pinning more recipes all month long, but in the meantime try our chia strawberry jam in this month’s newsletter.
photo by Callie Derksen