The April Fruit of the Month is the Strawberry!
The Romans prized wild strawberries for their medicinal properties. Today strawberries, much like the apple, are a treasured part of American history and still important for good health as a high source of Vitamin C and folate. In fact, ounce for ounce, strawberries have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit. According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in Vitamin C may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Phytonutrients found in strawberries can have an anti-inflammatory effect within the body.
A Few Tips to Maximize Your Strawberry Experiences:
- Select shiny, firm strawberries with a bright red color. The leaves, or caps, should be green and intact. Avoid shriveled, mushy or leaky berries.
- 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.
- Strawberries are great by themselves as a snack or dessert. They can also be added to so many other foods to boost the nutritional content such as a yogurt, pancakes, ice cream, angel food cake, or even slice and add to your water to give it an extra bit flavor!
- 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.
Summer is the best time to purchase fresh strawberries in South Dakota for price and quality. But don’t forget about frozen strawberries any time of the year! Simply look for frozen strawberries packaged without added sugar.
Sources: Eat Well, Live Well Campaign, Pick It! Try It! Like It!, Fruits & Veggies: More Matters, Harvest of the Month, USDA Report on Food Availability and Consumption, University of Illinois Extension