strawberries fruit of the month

June Fruit of the Month: Strawberries

Live Well Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Food Council is proud to present the Eat Well, Live Well campaign! Each month, this campaign zooms in on a specific fruit and vegetable.

The June Fruit of the Month is the Strawberry!

Did you know…
The modern garden strawberry we all know and love was originally hybridized by the French, in the late 18th century, from two distinct North American and Chilean species of wild strawberry.

Arguably the classic American fruit, the venerable yet humble strawberry is featured in toppings, pies, shortcakes, or all by itself, and has long been the symbol of a prosperous seasonal harvest on kitchen and picnic tables nation-wide. Consumed year-round, demand for the strawberry consistently ranks with apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes in popularity.

The strawberry also shares with the apple the distinction of being a part of the cultural memory of many Americans. Many of us can recall, with a certain fondness, memories of picking apples and berries with our siblings, parents, and grandparents. From growth to harvest to table, eating healthier is always more meaningful- and fun -the more personal and communal the experience is.

If you have the opportunity, then, we encourage you to get your friends, parents, partner, kids- whomever you want -and venture out to pick your own fruit. Food well-earned always tastes better, and makes the memories even sweeter.

If you can’t get out to an orchard or field, you can still take a hands-on approach by shopping your local farmers’ market, making recipes from scratch as much as possible, and inviting new guests to the table to share in the meal.

Good food and good health are meant to be shared, and serving strawberries is a perfect way to share both.

A Few Tips to Maximize Your Strawberry Experiences

  • Don’t wash your strawberries until just prior to consumption. Without an outer skin to protect the fruit, strawberries will spoil much faster if they’re washed and stored for more than a day before use. Make sure they’re thoroughly washed if purchased from the grocery store- high amounts of pesticides are required to commercially produce strawberries. Use a vinegar-based rinse to remove these chemicals.
  • Phytonutrients found in strawberries can have an anti-inflammatory effect within the body. Strawberries also contain some of the highest levels of nitrates found in any fruit, and can greatly increase muscular oxygen intake if consumed prior to physical activity. Coincidentally, strawberries are also high in Vitamin C, which inhibits potentially harmful byproducts that can form after excess nitrate consumption!
  • Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits to add to salads. The tart/sweet balance compliments meaty flavors like poultry and pecans, savory ones such as bleu cheese, and sharp ones found in vinaigrette dressings.

Don’t stop there! Find ways to promote strawberries at your work, school, childcare, and in your community!

Sources: Eat Well, Live Well CampaignPick It! Try It! Like It!Fruits & Veggies: More Matters, Harvest of the Month, USDA Report on Food Availability and Consumption