It’s Strawberry Season!

Strawberries are grown year round, but the peak season is right now – April through July. Strawberries are delicious and nutritious. One cup is only 50 calories, has 3 grams of fiber, and contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

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I enjoy the natural sweetness of the strawberries by themselves. They make a quick and healthy snack and don’t need to be refrigerated. Strawberries are also delicious added to fruit smoothies and yogurt and who doesn’t like strawberry shortcake? I even add strawberries to pancakes and waffles instead of maple syrup. They are also a great addition to salads, especially ones made with spinach.

For a fun activity, locate a strawberry farm in your area, and take your children strawberry picking. Choose the strawberries that have a deep red color and are firm and plump, as strawberries do not ripen once picked. Of course, avoid any that have mold. If you pick too many, don’t worry, as you can always freeze the strawberries.

Here are some suggestions for freezing. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Remove the stems and any berries that are spoiled. Place the berries on a baking sheet, not touching each other and freeze until solid. Transfer to storage containers or plastic freezer bags and store up to six months. Now you can enjoy your strawberries for several more months!

For more information about choosing and storing strawberries, check out our video https://youtu.be/gxaLlJqy2W8

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Resource: http://www.healthyeating.org

For recipes, click here http://www.ncstrawberry.com/getrecipe.cfm

Judy

Strawberry Season

My family can’t eat enough strawberries at this time of year! They are a good value at the farmers markets and grocery stores. Be careful to only purchase what you will use within a couple of days, to avoid having the strawberries get moldy and go bad. If you plan to buy strawberries in bulk, it’s a good idea to freeze what you’re not ready to use.

Strawberries are great as a snack. I like to add strawberries to vegetable salads or mix strawberries with different seasonal fruits for a beautiful and tasty fruit salad. Our favorite strawberry dessert is strawberry shortcake, using angel food cake or homemade biscuits as the “cake”.

If you are growing your own strawberries and have an abundance of them, try making strawberry jam. Your local Extension office can provide you with a recipe.

One of my favorite EFNEP recipes is the Strawberry Spinach Salad. Try for yourself!

1strawberry salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Makes 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
dash paprika
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 cup vinegar
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Dressing Directions
1. Combine all ingredients except spinach, strawberries, and nuts.
2. Using a fork or wire whisk, mix until well blended and sugar melts.

Salad Directions
1. Clean spinach and pat dry. Cut off stems and place in bowl.
2. Add sliced strawberries.
3. Drizzle dressing lightly to taste over spinach and strawberries.
4. Toss to coat.
5. Sprinkle nuts over top.

*Note: You can use leftover dressing for other salads or to marinate vegetables. You may add other fruits like drained pineapple chunks, grapes, or blueberries.

-Judy

Oven-Dried Strawberries

Strawberry time is here! They’re on sale everywhere and ready to be picked in the fields in many areas. If you buy too many strawberries to eat before they go bad, try drying them out in the oven. They smell delicious and taste even better.

Strawberries are super easy to oven dry as long as you have time. The prep time is about 5 minutes, and the total oven drying time is about 3-4 hours.

Here are the directions for oven drying strawberries:

  1. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice strawberries in half, or in thirds or even quarters if they are big berries. Remove the white part that’s inside the berries (usually in larger ones) and lay them cut side up on a baking tray. Place your baking tray in a low oven. 200 degrees F or as low as your oven goes.                                                                20140425_140730
  3. Depending on how large your strawberries are and how dry you want them, the strawberries will take between 3-4 hours to dry. Turn the berries over after about 1 1/2 hours so that the seedy side is up.                                  20140425_174456
  4. Peel the dried strawberries off the parchment paper, and store them in an air tight container.                                                          20140428_160657

Enjoy!!!!!!

How to Serve Berries

Here are a few ideas on how to serve berries:

  • Put some in a plastic container to eat as a snack or lunch on-the-go
  • Add to a bowl of whole grain cereal
  • Make a yogurt parfait with berries, yogurt and granola
  • Sprinkle on salads
  • Make fruit kabobs along with other fruits such as pineapple chunks (fresh or canned), bananas and grapes
  • Use as a topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Make smoothies

Adapted from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.