Strawberries for Good Health and Palate Delight

— Written By Janice Fields and last updated by
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Strawberries and childhood memories go together for me. We had a strawberry patch on the farm when I was a young child. I didn’t realize at the time what a treat it was to pick those berries, and then help mama transform them into foods like jam, pie, and ice cream. We also froze many quarts of strawberries to be eaten later in the year. One of my favorites, then and now, is strawberries with homemade biscuits. Another strong palate competitor is pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Is your mouth watering for the taste of strawberries yet?

These days, most of us find a local strawberry grower to create those strawberry memories with our children. You can google “Robeson County Strawberry Producers” to find out where the berries are located. My youngest, even at age 21, still likes to go pick berries with me – as long as I don’t try to pick the whole field! It is hard to stop picking when the berries look so pretty and taste so delicious. Yes, I admit to my strawberry picking and eating addiction. I promise to continue with it and preserve my strawberries wisely. I also promise to stick to my most favorite and healthiest way to eat strawberries – fresh with nothing on them.

Strawberries are a delight for the young and old and all ages in between. Besides their deliciousness, strawberries fall into the category of superfood. Just one serving (about 8 berries) has large amounts of nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and folate. Strawberries are a nutrient-dense powerhouse and are also low in calories (about 45 calories per cup). This means they are really, really good for you!

When selecting strawberries, look for plump, well-rounded, fully ripe, red berries with fresh green caps. Leave a half-inch stem on and do not wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Cover loosely and store in the refrigerator. To prepare the berries, wash them under a gentle spray of cool water just before use. Dry on paper towels and remove the caps, then enjoy in your favorite recipe. For best taste, I would recommend using the berries within a day or two of picking. I absolutely love them in a tossed salad with kale, spinach, pineapple, and pecans drizzled with a poppy seed dressing.

For more strawberry recipes and information on preserving strawberries, please contact Janice Fields, Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Janice_Fields@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.