Here is another excellent `Local, Seasonal and Organic Food’ article from our Local Food Guru, Denise Lambert. Enjoy!
Rumour has it that if you share a double strawberry with someone, you are destined to fall in love. Strawberries are the symbol of Venus, goddess of love.
Strawberries an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source of folate and potassium and provides 3 g of fiber per one cup (250 ml) all for only 50 calories.
Interesting strawberry facts:
- Created from crossing two wild strawberry varieties, the strawberry we all know and love has been cultivated since the 18th century.
- Romans used to consume wild strawberries for their therapeutic qualities.
- Native Americans used to call them `Pocahontas’.
- Quebec is the largest strawberry producer in Canada. But they grow quite prolifically here in Ontario as well.
- There are more than 600 varieties of strawberries.
Where to pick your own:
www.organicsfarm.ca – for organic.
www.whittamoresfarm.com for Fun! This is where I go with my daughter, and it’s an all-day event. They have a really great playground for the kids and a market for the adults.
Tips for purchasing:
Since strawberries don¹t really ripen once picked, it¹s best to buy them when they¹re already ripe, free of green or white sections. Choose firm, bright red fruit exempt from yellow traces near the stalk. The green collar of leaves should be stiff and bright green. Avoid soft strawberries with prominent yellow dots covering the surface of the fruit.
Cooking and storing strawberries:
Highly perishable, strawberries must be kept away from the sun and remain at room temperature for the shortest time possible. They can be kept in the refrigerator or in a cool area, in a colander or other breathable container. If you store them unwashed, unstemmed and not squeezed together, they will last for up to two or three days. But take them out of the refrigerator about 1 hour prior to eating them to truly appreciate their full flavour.
Washed or older strawberries will keep better with a little added sugar.
Strawberries are easy to freeze as long as you choose ripe fruit. They can be frozen whole, sliced, quartered or crushed, with or without sugar.
Spray cut or crushed strawberries with lemon (or citrus) juice, this will help to reduce loss of colour.
Only wash fruit when ready to eat, and wash them with the stems on. Use cold water and do not soak fruit. These steps help keep the strawberries as fresh tasting as possible.
- This fruit is very adaptable. The obvious thing to make is jam. If you want me to post a jam recipe, just leave a comment and I shall!
- Try them in salad, or in a smoothie with bananas & plain yogurt.
- A delicious vinaigrette can be made by combining them with olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, green peppers, onion and sugar in a blender and processing until smooth.
- I really like this recipe from Allrecipes.com for Strawberry Salsa :
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large bowl, combine strawberries, tomatoes, chili peppers, garlic, lime juice and oil. Toss all together to mix and coat. Cover dish and refrigerate for 2 hours to chill. Ready to serve!
Strawberries herald summer – Happy Summer!
Denise Lambert is a vegetarian, food enthusiast and prepares healthy, organic meals on a weekly basis for several selected clients as a side business. Denise also tries her best to live the 100 mile diet to take advantage of the added nutritional benefits of eating locally as well as doing her part to ease environmental (and social) concerns due to food transportation.