They're coming! They're coming!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ah, spring. When a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. Love? Bah! That may be fine for the young man, but spring makes this old lady get a little weak in the knees at the thought of ripe, juicy strawberries. And soon they’ll be everywhere.

Strawberry season, which begins in California in March and peaks during May in the south and June in the north, is upon us. Although you can sometimes pick up some fairly decent strawberries all year round, there is nothing quite like the flavor of the in-season strawberry.

Naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium, strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C (containing even more than an orange!) and remain high on the list of “superfoods” due to their antioxidant properties.

But, wait! There’s more! Strawberries are also a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine as well as potassium, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium, and copper.

And anytime you can get all of these health benefits for a mere 40 calories per cup, I call that a nutritional bargain.

So here’s some things to remember about buying and storing strawberries:

Unless you plan on freezing them, don’t buy more than you have an immediate need for as they will mold fairly quickly if left at room temperature, and will only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them. Washing before storage promotes mildew and that’s not really too yummy.

Strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so avoid yellow or green berries. They’re not going to get any better.

Buy locally whenever possible. Locally grown strawberries will most likely be fresher and more flavorful.

To freeze strawberries, arrange the whole berries in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and return to the freezer. Frozen strawberries should last for a year. It is recommended that you NOT wash or remove the hull prior to freezing.

Don’t know what to do with all those frozen strawberries? Well, besides the obvious choice of Margaritas and Daquiris? Click here for some ideas from Allrecipes.

I love fresh strawberries by themselves as an afternoon snack, but I also love them in cereal, or topped with yogurt, or in smoothies or paired with a sliced banana and whipped cream.

Good food that’s good FOR you. It’s a beautiful thing.


Kelly said...

Wow! Didn't know that you were NOT supposed to wash them before freezing. I can't wait for the fresh, local strawberries to come in. The ones you can buy year around just aren't as good. Even in a margarita.

pam said...

Our strawberry season is very short but sweet. It begins about the second last week of June and runs until about mid-July. (If we are lucky!) It is the best time of year around here!


Midwest Mommy said...

Yet another reason why California is my dream state :-)

Ree said...

I was stuck with maple sausage for breakfast this morning since you hogged all the bacon (get it? hogged? bacon? snort.)

My Mom craved strawberries when she was pregnant with me. My grandfather used to bring her Big Boy strawberry pies.

They are the best spring fruit. Also the hardest to keep fresh until you get to them!

Housewife Savant said...

I too craved strawberries during one of my pregnancies.
Had an orange-haired kid.
DON'T try to convince me it's something in the genes. Genes, schmenes.
It's the berries, I know.

Thanks for the heads-up on freezing. My kids will be thrilled with treats out-of-season.

FYI the orange-haired child LOVES strawberries - PROOF.

Nana said...

YAY Strawberries!!!!!!!

I can finally eat something and not worry about it!!!!

Shelley said...

Great timing on this post - I've been buying California strawberries here in Texas for the last few weeks and I was wondering if I should be washing and cutting the entire basket all at once or just doing enough for a I know!

Michelle said...

Yay for strawberries!!! Too bad that I have to wait a few more months for Strawberry season. I'm so jealous!!

Anonymous said...

I can not wait for strawberry season! They are so juicy and sweet when we have them locally. I'm so excited!

Cyndi said...

I have been enjoying some yummy strawberries recently and I am NOT happy that my 3-week low iodine diet won't let me have them.

Michelle said...

Yet another reason for us to stay in CA. I've been picking up local strawberries at the farmer's market for over a month. There are a ton of fields here in Irvine and stands right down the road from us. Vivi might just turn into a strawberry at the rate she puts them away!

Christy said...

oohh...I can't wait for fresh strawberries!! YUM!!

Thanks for those tips - I had not heard any of them before!!

Jo said...

Oooh yummmy I can't wait for strawberry season! They get so sweet when they are officially in season! Yum!

Happy Monday, stopping by from SITS! Stop by my blog for my latest giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait!

My local farmers market starts in May and I'm so there.

Tanya said...

Fresh strawberries are like crack to me...I can't stop eating the darn things. Good thing they are good for you. I can't wait until they are available!

"FINE"al thoughts... said...

Mmmmm! I love me some fresh strawberries, too! As a matter of fact, I think I'll start me a strawberry patch this year. Thanks for making me think of it! Stopping by from SITS again to say hello!