National Strawberry Day

Today is National Strawberry Day and I am very excited about it! Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits.  Truth be told, they are actually considered a “false fruit” because they are made up of dozens of tiny individual fruits coming together as one. These individual fruits are called achenes and are all surrounding the tiny seeds you see.

 

Berry Nutritious

 

One cup serving of whole strawberries contains around 45 calories, 220 milligrams of potassium, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 7 grams of sugar. Strawberries provide a number of benefits to your health:

 

  • Heart Healthy. Strawberries are a good source of fiber, which can decrease your risk for heart disease. Fiber aids in removing cholesterol from your blood and helps keep you fuller for longer, which aids in weight management.

 

  • Blood Pressure. Potassium plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure, along with having a role in muscle contractions and electrolyte balance.

 

  • Anti-inflammatory. Phytonutrients including anthocyanins, flavanols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids are all forms of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties. All of these phytonutrients are found in strawberries.

 

Picking and Preparing Strawberries

 

While strawberries are available for fresh picking across the country, most of the ones you buy from the store are from California or Florida due to their warm climates. Strawberries are available in stores throughout the whole year, although peak season runs April through June.

 

When at the store, pick strawberries that are fully ripe.  Fully ripe strawberries will be firm with a bright red color.  If you’re buying prepackaged strawberries, thoroughly check the container to make sure there are no rotten or moldy strawberries hiding! Avoid washing the fruit until you are ready to eat. Strawberries are susceptible to mold and washing will speed up their spoilage.

 

Strawberries freeze very well, so if you buy (or pick) more than you can eat, you can freeze them.  Pluck off the green caps and toss the berry into a freezer bag. Now they are perfect for smoothies or on top of frozen yogurt.

 

Get Creative

 

Strawberries are the type of fruit that can be eaten any way.  They go well with most foods, which gives you the chance to be creative when incorporating strawberries into meals.  Here are some ways you can enjoy strawberries:

 

  • Feta Stuffed Strawberries. Scoop out the inside of the strawberry and stuff it with feta cheese for a perfect appetizer or healthy snack.  Recipe here.
  • Wilted Spinach Salad with Strawberries. Salads and strawberries are one of my personal favorites.  They bring more freshness to the salad and balance out bitter spinach leaves.  Recipe here.
  • Berry Chia Smoothie.  One of the simplest and delicious ways to enjoy strawberries is in a smoothie.  You can do this with fresh or frozen strawberries.  Recipe here.
  • Strawberry-Mango Sorbet. You can make your own dessert by blending strawberries and mangoes together to make a sorbet.  As spring quickly approaches keep this recipe in mind.  Recipe here.
  • Strawberry Soup.  Are you looking for a recipe to take you out of your comfort zone?  You can make strawberry soup, which makes for a delicious appetizer or dessert.  It is very refreshing and is great at summer barbecues.  Recipe here.
  • French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries.  This French toast is the perfect recipe for Sunday morning brunch.  The stuffed French toast with Greek yogurt will keep you full all morning.  Recipe here.

 

Strawberries are the perfect fruit, taste delicious, and can easily be worked into your meals.  Remember to get creative when finding ways to bring strawberries into each meal.  You’ll surprise yourself with what new “meals” you can come up with!

 

Your turn to take action: How will you celebrate National Strawberry day? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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