Berry Sweet Days Ahead

Strawberries are a beloved fruit. They are delicious and fun to pick with the family. But how well do you really know strawberries? Here are some fun facts for you to be able to enjoy this juicy fruit even more.

Strawberries are packed with nutrients. Notably, one serving (1/2 cup) of strawberries has a heaping 52 mg of Vitamin C, while an adult needs approximately 65-90mg in their diet every day. Why is vitamin C so great you might wonder? Well, vitamin C has a large a variety of health functions such as;

  • helping absorb iron
  • keeping your gums healthy
  • helping heal cuts and wounds
  • forming/repairing blood, bone and other tissues

Vitamin C needs to be consumed often because our body does not retain it- Vitamin C is removed in our urine. That means we need to have Vitamin C in our diet every day to stay healthy. Not only are strawberries packed with vitamin C, but they are also a great source of potassium, fibre and are low in calories!

Summer Time!
In the summer time and there are many farms that offer pick your own strawberries. This is a great activity to get you and your family outside and getting some much needed vitamin D that we lack in Canada’s long winters. Also the simple activity of walking out in the field is great cardio for all ages. Picking your own strawberries is a great thing to do because it also supports your local farms!! And remember when picking strawberries, don’t pick those that have white/green patches or those who are crushed. To learn more about farms in your area visit Ontario Berry Growers Association

Strawberries existed in prehistoric times. Wild strawberries, which are less common today, were once used for medicinal purposes. The leaves were boiled and then used to cover wounds to decrease inflammation. The red juicy end of the strawberry was used to correct the “heat and redness of the face.”

Strawberries are a great fruit to store or freeze. Store berries in the refrigerator with stem intact and unwashed. Within 3-6 days strawberries in the fridge need to be eaten, frozen or canned. Just before serving, rinse under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels, and remove stem. Strawberries can also be stored sliced or whole, plain or with sugar. To freeze without sugar, place in a single layer on a large tray or cookie sheet. Freeze until firm (about one hour), pack in freezer bags drawing off as much air as possible, and seal. To freeze with sugar, pack in rigid containers, sprinkling sugar between each layer. For every 4 cups (1 L) whole washed and with stem removed strawberries, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar; for 4 cups of sliced strawberries, allow 3/4 cup (175 mL) of sugar. My personal favourite way to store strawberries is in jam and jelly preserves!

Here are some fun recipe ideas for strawberries:

Strawberry Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps
Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Purée
Brown Rice Pudding with Strawberry Sauce
Strawberry Maple Custard Slices
Icy Berry Pops
Mixed Berry Salad
Brown Rice and Strawberry Salad
Strawberry Smoothie

By Monika Hotson

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