STRAWBERRIES: Red All Over
by Janet Little, C.N., Sprouts Nutritionist
Looking for a delicious and healthy snack? Look no further than a pint (or two) of ruby red, ripe and ready-to-eat strawberries. Economically and nutritionally, strawberries are among the most important fruits grown in the Western Hemisphere ? plus they're a tasty source of essential vitamins, and kids love 'em. Strawberries are "early risers," meaning they are the first fruits to ripen in the spring, with more than 40 million pounds picked every week between April and June. Strawberries are also the only fruit with seeds on the outside ? the average strawberry contains more than 200 seeds.
Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Whole strawberries were prized as a digestive remedy, while the leaves and roots were used to treat gout. Strawberries have also been used as an external treatment for sunburns and blemishes, and strawberry juice was even used to whiten discolored teeth.
Strawberries have sweet nutritional benefits, too. Just one cup can boost your health with more vitamin C and fiber than any other berry. And, at just 43 calories per cup, strawberries won't weigh you down ? though they are loaded with essential vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also contain antioxidants and nutrients that may protect the body's cells and enhance the immune system.
Basic Berry Pickin' Tips
- When selecting strawberries, make sure they are firm, have deep red color, a natural shine and fresh-looking green caps. Smaller berries are usually the sweetest and most flavorful.
- Refrigerate berries and enjoy within two to three days of purchase.
- Do not wash the berries until you are ready to use them, as washing makes them more prone to spoiling.
- To experience full berry flavor, choose fresh berries from Sprouts and bring them to room temperature before eating.
- Be careful not to buy too many strawberries at once, as they tend to mold quickly when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator. Plus, you can always come back to Sprouts for more!
- If you find you have too many berries, you can easily freeze them to enjoy at a later date. Simply wash the berries, dry them, cut off their green caps and place them on a cookie sheet, without allowing one berry to touch another. Once the berries have frozen, pop them into a resealable freezer bag ? removing as much air as possible. A vacuum food sealer works well for this task, too. Enjoy frozen berries within six months.
Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Check out this sweet and delicious strawberry recipe your kids will love.
This recipe is easily modified to meet your tastes. Use whatever fruit ? in addition to the strawberries ? is fresh, locally grown and ready to enjoy. Consume immediately, as this salsa is best when just prepared.
Original recipe yield: 32 dippings
Ready in 30 minutes or less
Juice of one lime
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced (we like Fuji apples)
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
For Tortilla Chips
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
6 (10-inch) flour tortillas (or GF tortillas)
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Mix together lime juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
Add apples, strawberries, kiwis, and bananas; toss to coat evenly.
Cover and chill for about 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan to 375°F (190°C).
Cut each tortilla into eight triangles.
Gently add tortillas to the hot oil, about eight at a time.
Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning once.
Drain on paper towels.
Place the sugar and cinnamon in a paper bag and shake to mix.
Add cooked tortillas and shake to coat evenly.
Serve the warm cinnamon tortilla chips with the cool strawberry salsa.