Strawberries Add Important Nutrients to Our Diet
Nashville, Ark. –
What health benefits do strawberries have?
Strawberry season is fast approaching, and you will want to pick up a carton to enjoy. Not only do they taste great, but strawberries also add important nutrients to our diet. Strawberries are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which are excellent for fighting infections. Strawberries can also help prevent heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, and even cancer.
One cup of unsweetened strawberries contains 140% of your daily intake of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin C also helps protect your skin from bruising and helps heal cuts and scrapes. It also helps keep gums healthy. Eating foods with vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. In addition, strawberries provide potassium and fiber. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and fiber helps control cholesterol and keeps you regular. One cup of sliced strawberries has only 45 calories and zero fat!
How do you pick good strawberries?
When choosing which container of strawberries to purchase, look for ones that are brightly colored and fully ripe. They should have a natural shine, rich red color and bright green caps. Avoid soft or dark colored berries as they are bruised and overripe. Also avoid berries that have a lot of green on them. Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked.
Arkansas strawberries are available from late April until the month of June. Depending upon the variety, locally grown strawberries are medium size, which is perfect. They have more flavor than large berries.
How long do strawberries last after they are picked?
Strawberries do not last long once they are picked. Plan to use them within 2 to 3 days and store them in the refrigerator. Longer storage will cause them to develop a grey mold. Store berries no more than two berries deep in a shallow container or tray covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Remove any bruised, rotted, or molded berries before storing. Never rinse berries or remove the cap until you are ready to eat them. Rinsing promotes mold growth and removing the cap early reduces flavor, texture, and nutrient quality.
Strawberries are very versatile. You can enjoy them fresh out of the container, in salads, desserts, breads, parfaits and smoothies. You can add a little sugar if they are not as sweet as you would like without sacrificing the nutrient quality of the berries.
For more information on strawberries, contact me at the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service located on the second floor of the courthouse or call my office at 870-845-7517. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask for a free copy of Enjoy Arkansas Fresh. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe
This is one of my all-time favorite strawberry recipes. My family requests this one often, especially during strawberry seasons. Even skeptics love this salad once they try it!
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 small container strawberries, sliced or 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 bag ready to eat spinach, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
- Mix dressing ingredients well and set aside.
- For Topping: Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat and add brown sugar. Stir well. Add almonds. Stir again. Cook until caramelized, stirring frequently. Watch closely, almonds burn very easily.
- Put salad and strawberries in a serving bowl and add topping. Stir dressing well before drizzling over top. Stir salad and serve immediately.
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
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