Featured food: strawberries

strawberriesFew foods scream “Spring!” like fresh strawberries.  Or at least that used to be the case.  Now we have strawberries 12 months of the year, if you can call them that.  Grocery store strawberries are typically very large, uniform, red and invariably quite tasteless.  But there they are.  People must be buying them, and they end up thinking that’s what strawberries taste like.  Sad.

Real local strawberry season (usually in June) doesn’t last long, so buy fresh local strawberries while you can.  They’ll be fragile.  They may have slight discolorations, or not be uniform in shape and size, but they’ll taste like actual strawberries.  They won’t keep long, so use them soon after buying them.

How to use them:

  • Fresh, in a bowl.  They probably don’t need any added sweetener.  Makes a great light dessert or snack.
  • On cereal
  • Mixed in yogurt
  • Added to a fruit salad
  • Added to a smoothie (a good way to use up strawberries that are losing freshness).
  • As a topping for waffles or pancakes
  • For strawberry salsa: lightly chop 2 cups strawberries in a food processor; add juice of 1/4 lime, 1/4 tsp salt, one minced jalapeño (or enough jalapeño to suit your taste buds) and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  • On strawberry shortcake.  Well this one can break the calorie bank if you let it.  Typical strawberry shortcake recipes call for a giant shortcake biscuit, sliced in half, layered with strawberries and drowned in whipped cream.  You can fake it up using commercial light-weight shortcakes and non-fat whipped topping.  But fake ingredients are insulting to the delicious local strawberries.  An alternative: pile strawberries on one slice of shortcake and garnish with vanilla yogurt.  Another alternative: share one portion of real strawberry shortcake with someone else.

Strawberry nutrition

Strawberries are known for vitamin C content.  Notable nutrients in 1 cup of strawberry halves:

  • 50 calories
  • 3 grams fiber
  • almost 90 mg vitamin C (more than the RDI)
  • almost 250 mg of potassium
  • insignificant traces of fat and sodium
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