Strawberries are arguably one of the most loved fruits. Their sweet taste means they can be used in a variety of fun and healthy recipes. Strawberries are usually the first spring seasonal fruits to ripen making them a December must have in South Africa.
Although the word ‘berries’ can be found in their name strawberries are technically aggregate accessory fruits as their seeds are on the outside. Interestingly, each strawberry has about 200 seeds and each seed can grow into new strawberry plants, but most plants instead reproduce through runners. The Strawberry is part of the rose family, and give off a sweet fragrance as they grow on bushes. Strawberry plants will grow year after year and once planted a single plant can last up to 5 years. The table-top cultivation method is the best for growing strawberries. This means they are grown hanging in containers.
Strawberry Health Benefits
The humble Strawberry also has health benefits and most of these are due to the presence of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. They contain anti-aging flavonoid antioxidants which have been associated with lowering the risk for chronic diseases as well as many other health problems. Strawberries contain only 48 Cal (200kJ) per cup and are relatively low in sugar. They are a good source of dietary fibre and are a nutrient dense fruit. Strawberries contain the micronutrients, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Depending on when you will be using strawberries in your food preparation, they can be stored at room temperature, refrigerated, or in the freezer. If you plan on using your strawberries the same day you bought them, they can be stored at room temperature. They should be refrigerated whole in a suitable lined container for no longer than 5 days. If you will not be using the strawberries during this time it is better to store them in the freezer.
Strawberries should only be rinsed just before eating or being used in preparation. They are like sponges and when wet they soak up moisture resulting in them becoming mushy and would mould faster. Unless strawberries are intended to be eaten by hand, the stem should be removed by slicing the leaves off with a paring knife.
Easy Strawberry Smoothie
- Around 12 strawberries
- 1 Cup of Ice
- Half a Cup of plain or fruit yogurt
- ½ TSP of Strawberry Ice cream (Optional)
- Half a Cup of SPAR Full Cream Milk
- ½ Cup of Spar Orange Juice
Mix all the ingredients together in a Smoothie maker or blender. Mix on medium for approximately 30 seconds or until the ice is crushed.