Sunday, April 25, 2010


Local North Carolina strawberries are finally arriving at the farmer's markets and grocery stores. They normally appear mid April and overrun the markets through June.

These bright red beauties are the most popular berry in the world. They were once considered a luxury, and were only enjoyed by royalty. Now they are grown throughout the world. We are lucky to have strawberries call NC their home.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant pigments that contain beneficial antioxidants. For example, the strawberry's color is caused by the flavonoid anthocyanidin. Strawberries contain other flavonoids that help protect against cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. Eating strawberries is also a great way to include more iodine, vitamin B2, manganese, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6 into your diet.

Storage tips:
Remove moldy berries from the package or bowl before storing in the refrigerator. The last thing you want is for all your berries to spoil.
Freeze berries, so you can enjoy them out of season. Sprinkle with lemon juice to retain the color and keep whole to ensure they keep all their vitamin C content. Put the berries in a single layer on a pan, then freeze. Once they're frozen, put all the berries in a freezer bag, and store. Eat within one year.

Recipe ideas:
Enjoy them whole or in a fruit salad.
Slice over yogurt or granola.
Mix up into a smoothie with other berries and coconut milk (or yogurt).
Add to spinach salads with pecans, green peas, goat cheese.
Pair with dark chocolate for a simple, healthy dessert.
Puree into jam to enjoy all fall and winter.
Make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp or homemade ice cream.

Murray, 2005. p. 143, 313-315.

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