Strawberries Just Ripe for You
Now is the time to enjoy strawberries that are grown and sold locally. You may want to consider picking your own at a local strawberry farm.
Strawberries are a delicious, nutritious, fat-free food. One serving of fresh strawberries (one cup or about 6-9 berries) contains only 50 calories and no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.
Studies indicate that strawberries are a super source of nutrition providing:
- Antioxidants: help reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer.
- Fiber: lowers the risk of heart disease and supports digestion.
- Phytonutrients: aid in the prevention of cancer and diabetes
- Potassium: helps maintain blood pressure and aids muscle contractions.
- Vitamin C: promotes healthy gums, teeth and bones.
Strawberries are best when prepared and eaten in the same day, but if you must keep them longer, refrigerate berries on a tray or cake pan, and loosely cover with paper or cloth towels. Do not remove the caps or wash the berries until you are ready to use them. When caps are removed before use, the berries lose some of their moisture. Washing early tends to bruise them and the berries lose their freshness.
Freezer Storage: Frozen strawberries retain all the nutritional benefits of fresh strawberries. Air tight packaging and zero or below freezer temperatures are the keys to maintaining best quality frozen berries. Wash dirt from berries and dry thoroughly before freezing. (Spreading them out on a towel in front of a fan works well.) Avoid freezing too many berries at one time, as home freezers are not designed to freeze large quantities efficiently.
Tray Freezing: place whole berries on a tray and freeze solid. Transfer to airtight freezer bags or containers. Squeeze out excess air.
Sugar Pack: Sugar helps maintain the color and texture of frozen strawberries. Slice or crush berries, depending on how you want to use them later. Add sugar to taste and let stand until almost dissolved. Roll whole strawberries in sugar before freezing. Place in freezer bags or containers leaving some headspace.
To locate a strawberry farm or find recipes for using strawberries, go to the N.C. Strawberry Association website at http://www.ncstrawberry.org/.
Family & Consumer Sciences