I have a lot of fond memories of really good food, and two of my greatest involve strawberries. The first came one spring day in Louisiana when my grandparents’ neighbor brought over a fresh strawberry pie. Unforgettable! I had always loved strawberries, and my mom would occasionally make strawberry shortcake but nothing seemed to come close to the pie I had that day.
The second event happened on a chance stroll through a small village in France, about an hour north of Bordeaux. I happened upon a little roadside stand where a small elderly woman was selling her fresh strawberries. Never in my life have I ever tasted strawberries like those! They were oh-so-sweet and succulent, not even slightly acidic, and before I knew it, I had consumed the whole bag! Here I am with those strawberries in France.
As a grownup, I have vowed that with each new spring, I will try at least two new strawberry recipes. This year I plan to start with strawberry coconut-milk “ice cream” made with vanilla beans and cardamom. Got some unique suggestions for the other new recipe? I’d love to hear them!
Not surprisingly, strawberries are the most popular of all the berries around the world. They are members of the rose family and not really a berry at all! They’re “aggregate fruits” meaning they come from a flower that has a lot of “ovaries” or parts that ripen into edible fruit. Many flowers have one ovary, but the strawberry flower has many. Once pollinated, these “ovaries” swell up and form “fleshy receptacles” also known as strawberries — the delicious, juicy fruit we love to eat.
Nutritionally speaking, strawberries get high marks! They support heart health and are packed with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which help keep cholesterol levels healthy. Eating just eight strawberries gives your body more vitamin C than an orange while also providing manganese and fiber. Strawberries are naturally low in sodium, low in calories and, like most fruits and vegetables, do not contain cholesterol or fat.
Convinced to add more strawberries to your diet this spring? Here’s a good place to start:
When shopping, look for strawberries with a bright red color and a leafy green cap. Don’t wash until just before using. If storing, keep them uncovered in a bowl in the refrigerator. Un-washed strawberries should keep for about three to four days.
Are you ready for your springtime strawberry soiree? I’d love to hear your recipes and ideas!