Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever

By Lisa VanWilliams

We planted three strawberry plants this year and this morning our lone berry was ripe.  My husband was going to bring our daughter out when she woke up to pick it and eat it as she has been monitoring it's daily growth & ripeness. When she woke, they went and outside and a bird must have eaten our prize strawberry in the 15 minutes we left it, because it was gone !  Luckily, the local Connecticut farms are ready for picking with many opening their fields to the public this week and I am sure we will get our fill.

The US is the largest producer of strawberries in the world with the bulk of them coming out of Florida. This sweet tasting red ruby fruit has been around for thousands of years originally growing wild in the European forests, eventually with crossbreeding the berries evolved into over 600 varieties we enjoy today. 

Not only do strawberries allow you to get a bulky snack for minimal calories (1 cup = roughly 47 calories), they offer many other health benefits. Eating them raw has the best advantages. Some of these include the following:

  • packed with vitamin C
  • excellent source of manganese (promotes healthy bone structure & metabolism)
  • provides cardiovascular support and prevention
  • blood sugar benefits
  • anti-cancer benefits
  • anti inflammatory (helpful for bowel inflammation/Crohn's disease, & arthritis)

They are very perishable and only last for a few days. Once you pick a berry, it does not ripen any further. Refrigeration can help reduce humidity and prolong freshness.  All else fails, we love to freeze them for smoothies and shakes.