Sweet, plump and succulent strawberries widely available nowadays were first thought to have been cultivated in ancient Rome and Northern Europe.
As the berries seemed to be strewn among the leaves of the plant, these little heart-shaped fruits were first named strewberry. These strewberries were picked and brought to market on beds of straw. So later the name was changed to strawberry. (Really.)
Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Inside the body, the berry was used to remedy digestive upsets, while the leaves and roots were used for gout. Externally, the berry was used as a treatment for sunburn and blemishes and the juice was even used for discolored teeth.
Strawberries: The Perfect Treat
Today, strawberries are considered one of the most important small fruits grown in the Western Hemisphere. Every province in Canada grows the plant. Although fresh, plain strawberries make a perfect treat, they are incredibly versatile being used in everything from rich pies, to fancy cocktails, trendy salads and healthy smoothies.
At just 45 calories per cup, strawberries provide 85 mg of vitamin C and bioflavonoids (which may have anti-cancer properties.) Choose plump, firm, bright red berries. Avoid those with mold or soft spots. Store in the fridge and wash just before serving.
- To keep strawberries from absorbing large quantities of water, hull after washing. A salad spinner works well for removing excess water from berries.
- For long term storage of individual berries individual quick freezing is recommended. This will minimize the "mushiness" associated with freezing the berries.
- Strawberries can be frozen and safely kept for up to 1 year. Place the berries on flat trays in a single layer, well spaced out, and put into the coldest part of the freezer (the colder the better). Choose firm, ripe berries; wash in ice water before hulling. Carefully drain well on several layers of paper towels first.
- Sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible and use in sauces, purees or jams.
- Choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting session, they will be the freshest and the most flavourful.
- The best strawberries are the ones you pick yourself or buy from your local strawberry fields. Farm fresh strawberries are hours old with little or no handling and no traveling. When picking strawberries, try to pick early in the morning or later in the day when the fruit is cool. Look for plump, bright red and fully ripe berries. Caps should be attached green and fresh looking. The size of the strawberry is not important. All strawberries, large and small, are equally sweet and juicy.
- Strawberries are best used within 2 to 3 days of picking. Cover and store them unwashed in the refrigerator. Do not crowd or press.
So pretty and so simple!
2/3 cup sugar-free strawberry jam
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Whites of 2 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
Beat the cream of tartar and egg whites together in a small bowl until the eggs make peaks. Gently fold in the strawberry jam and whipped cream. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour. Top with strawberry slices, berries, or clementine segments.
Refreshing Strawberry Slurp Recipe
1 10-oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup milk
2 cups strawberry frozen yogurt
Combine ingredients in blender and whir until smooth. Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 3g protein, 1g fat, 120mg calcium, 14g carbohydrates, 76 calories
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