It's Spring and that means local strawberries are ripe and ready to be eaten. Here are some quick tips ton how o make the most out of this beautiful seasonal fruit.
The Health Benefits
Mouth watering flavor aside, strawberries are chalk full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system. These sweet berries are also a good source of Folate, an essential mineral for fetal development and a natural mood booster. For all you nursing mamas out there, strawberries can also help boost your milk supply so eat up!!
What To Look For
As they say, the riper the berry the sweeter the juice. So look for strawberries that have a beautiful red color and a fabulous sweet smell. As one of the fruits listed on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen buying organic strawberries is your best and healthiest option. If you shop at a local outdoor market ask the farmer about their farming practices as many local farms are not certified organic but follow organic practices. If you're feeling really adventurous, find a local farm in your area and go pick them yourself. It's a great way to spend the afternoon and get better acquainted with the farms in your area.
Getting Them Ready
Given their right-from-the-patch deliciousness, little needs to be done to enjoy this delightful fruit. That said, rinsing your berries in a quick mix of water and vinegar. This will not only help clean the berries but will remove any debris to help extend their freshness in your fridge. To enjoy their flavor for many months to come, rinse the berries, dry them completely and freeze them in glass jars for smoothies or dessert toppings anytime.
Savor The Flavor
Ripe strawberries are great as is, no sugar added. That said, dressing them up a bit can really brighten their flavor. Try mixing them with a touch of apple cider vinegar and some fresh cut tarragon or basil for an incredibly fresh summer fruit salad. Throw them on a bed of greens with a nice balsamic vinaigrette, goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. You can even lay them on as sheet of parchment paper and slow roast them in the oven to bring out their natural juices.
Waste Not Want Not
With over 35% of the food produced in the US going to waste don't let your cut berries tops be added to the mix. Take the rinsed tops and place them in a pitcher with some basil for an incredible flavored water that tastes amazing fresh and will help keep you hydrated throughout the Spring and early summer months.
Whether you're headed to the farm, farmer's market, or local grocery store do be sure to pick up some strawberries this season and enjoy them in all their glory.