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Strawberries

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Preview of Strawberry

Available

June 15 - July 30

Harvest Period

June 15 - July 30

The strawberry is a member of the rose family and has grown wild in Europe and North America for centuries. Despite its name, it is not a real berry or fruit in the botanical sense, but instead the enlarged end of the plant’s stamen. The strawberry is actually an aggregate fruit – the real fruit are the tiny yellow “seeds” clinging to the outer skin.

 

What to Look For

 

Choose berries that are completely red, without any white or green spots near the stem, which indicates that the berries are still unripe.  Once picked, strawberries will not ripen further.

 

When picking your own berries, grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion, but be careful not to squeeze the delicate berry itself. When buying berries in the store, turn the package over to see if there are any crushed berries or red juice staining the bottom, which is in an indication of over-ripe berries.

 

Cleaning and Preparation

 

Pour strawberries out into shallow pans and remove any soft or rotting berries. Rinse under cool water just before serving as washing makes them more prone to spoilage.  Hull the berries (cut off the green tops). While the hulls are sometimes left on for their beautiful green colour, they should not be eaten.  Put a few days supply into the fridge, and prepare the rest for freezing or jam making.

 

Storage

 

Although unwashed berries can be stored in the refrigerator for three to six days, they are best when fresh. Strawberries can also be frozen whole or sliced. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm; then pack them in freezer bags or containers.

 

Nutritional Information

 

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of folate and potassium. Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich source of phenols such as anthocyanin (which provides their deep, red colour) and ellagitannin.

 

One cup of halved strawberries provides 50 calories, 0g fat, 12g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, and 1g protein.

 

How to Use Them

 

Strawberries are a treat all on their own, with a little sprinkle of sugar or a dollop of cream. They also make a wonderful jam or pie filling.  A classic summertime treat is strawberry shortcake, while winter berry lovers can throw a handful of frozen strawberries into the blender to create a flavourful smoothie.  Strawberries pair up well with cheese and most other summer fruit, and are enlivened by pairing with lemon, basil, ginger and, of course, chocolate.

 

Varieties

 

Early in the season, Veestar and Annapolis become available, often at pick-your-own farms. As spring turns into summer, Cavendish, Governor Simcoe, Startime, MicMac, and Honey Eye can be found at the grocery store and on the farms.