Strawberries

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StrawberriesI do not think there is anything better than sitting in the shade on a hot day biting into a nice juicy strawberry. That time is upon us again as strawberries are starting to come in season. Stop by your favorite produce stand or go to the closest farmer’s market to pick up some of the first picks of the season.

Strawberries have great health benefits. They contain important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and folate. They also provide fiber for digestive health. One cup of strawberries provides around 50 calories. Possible health benefits of strawberries include increased good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure. The Vitamin C in the berries acts as an antioxidant and reduces damage to cells caused by oxidation. Vitamin C has also been shown to play a role in reducing certain cancers and improving cardiovascular health.

So feel free to indulge in that sweet strawberry treat. Top your cereal with fresh-cut strawberries, add them to a salad, or plop a spoonful of cool whip on some berries for a healthier dessert option. Every serving of berries you add to your meals counts toward the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables that adults should be eating each day.

Here are two other ideas on fresh ways to use your fresh berries:

Spinach Strawberry Salad

(Serves 6) Recipe from N.C. Cooperative Extension Local Foods Program
Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of spinach (around one bunch), rinsed and dried
  • 3 cups strawberries, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Coarsely chop or tear the spinach. Cut the strawberries into slices.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, white sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.
  4. Toss the salad mixture with the dressing. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Strawberry Mint Water

(Serves 8) Recipe from Med Instead of Meds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • 4 sprigs mint (or basil)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Water

Directions

  1. Add halved strawberries to a 2-quart drinking pitcher.
  2. Slightly twist mint sprigs to release flavor and then add to drinking pitcher.
  3. Top with ice and then add water.
  4. For more flavor, chill for 30 minutes or more before serving.

To learn further about how to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily intake register for our Med instead of Meds program starting May 6. It is a 6-week program learning how to eat the traditional Mediterranean style of eating. Register at MedProgramJackson.eventbrite.com.

There is a $10 registration fee.

For more information about Family and Consumer Science programs or to get more strawberry-themed recipes contact Emily McClure, FCS agent, at 828-586-4009 or email ekmcclure@ncat.edu.