I love strawberries. As a very small girl, I once sat and ate so many fresh strawberries that I broke out in a rash all over my little juice stained face. My mom loves to joke that this is why my hair is red. When the weather starts to turn warm and ripe berries flood the farmers markets and groceries stands, I want to do cartwheels in the street! Sometimes I do…
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, including our old pal Vitamin C! In fact, a cup of strawberries contains more than a whopping 89mg of Vitamin C, which meets 100% or more of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin C. Strawberries contain 3 g of fiber per cup, getting you on your way to your recommended 25-30 g per day. They are also a source of folate, an essential B Vitamin involved in many important biological processes including DNA synthesis and cell division.
Tips on choosing the best berries:
When choosing strawberries at the market, look for a lovely uniform red without green or white spots. The tops should look green and healthy and the berries should smell sweet but not rancid. If you see moisture or juice in the bottom of the carton, there is a good chance you have squished, overripe berries hidden inside.
If you plan on eating them the same day you pick them up, strawberries will do just fine on the counter. If not, I recommend storing them in your refrigerator’s produce drawer in their original carton so that they can breath. I typically do not like to wash my berries until I am ready to use them, as the extra moisture can cause them to mold or spoil. If you are going to wash and cut your berries before popping them in the fridge, I find adding a paper towel to the bottom of your storage container can help absorb extra moisture and keep your berries fresh a few days longer.
If you find yourself in the envious situation of being up to your ears in so many strawberries you can’t possibly eat them before they go bad, freeze them! Simply trim the tops off your berries, spread them over a cookie sheet in a single layer and pop them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a freezer safe bag or container.
How to roast strawberries:
That’s right. Roasted strawberries. This has to be one of my new favorite tricks in my magic cooking box. When you roast fresh strawberries in the oven, it helps bring out the natural sweetness of those little ruby gems without adding any extra sugar. You now have a marvelous topping for your waffles, your ice cream, and your best shortbread recipe. It also also helps release some of the moisture trapped in your berries. This makes them the perfect addition to baking recipes where the moisture oozing out of your berries can leave you with a soggy ruined mess.
Wash your fresh berries, remove their tops and cut them into halves or quarters. spread them out over a parchment lined baking sheet. Optional: drizzle your berries in a little olive oil for an extra flavor treat. Roast them at 375° for 15 minutes or until your berries have softened slightly and released some of their moisture.
If I have managed not to gobble up every strawberry straight out of the carton, I love to slice them and toss them in my salads. They are especially tasty paired with spinach and/or arugula. I love to make a variant of bruschetta with strawberries and balsamic especially when I have a good crusty bread on hand and access to fresh ricotta or chèvre. YUM. Berries are so tasty tossed in your favorite cereal, piled on top of some homemade waffles, thrown into a rustic tart, or baked into your favorite scone.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy strawberries? Share bellow!