Strawberries are a signature summer smell. And they’re great for healthy eating too! It has been reported that the recent heatwave has led to a glut of sweet, juicy berries in perfect time for the number one strawberry event, Wimbledon Tennis.
A whopping 28,000kg of strawberries will be sold during the fortnight. Apparently they are picked the day before to ensure maximum freshness.
Another fact about strawberries is that they are not actually a fruit as their seeds are on the outside and they are a member of the rose family.
They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K as well as providing a good dose of fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which gives them their bright red colour.
Fruit and vegetables make a valuable contribution to a healthy balanced diet, and berries such as strawberries are a good choice. Their colour indicates a protective effect. The anthocyanidins are a group of antioxidants are thought to have a number of potential health benefits, including prevention of inflammatory conditions and heart disease.
Choose berries that are firm, plump, unblemished and free of mould. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red colour and bright green caps attached. Wash and handle them with care. They are best served at room temperature.
The strawberry season in the UK is short and runs from the end of May through July. To achieve maximum yields during this short season, farmers need to protect emerging berries from the muddy soil. Traditionally, this was done by spreading a layer of straw around each new plant – hence the name strawberry.
Try to choose locally grown strawberries during the season as they will have the best flavour, though imported berries are available all year round. The scent of strawberries can be an indicator of quality. They are highly perishable and so are best eaten within a couple of days.
Sussex is blessed with a number of brilliant ‘pick your own’ farms where you can get the freshest strawberries. Here are a few suggestions:
Strawberries are really versatile and don’t just appear in desserts and sweet recipes. Here is a selection of versatile, tasty recipes that have got our mouths watering!
- Pavlova: the perfect partner for strawberries always seems to be cream (or ice cream!). But one of the other classics has to be pavlova
- Strawberry jam: keep it simple with this easy recipe
Scones with strawberries and cream: in keeping with the tennis theme, scones always go down a treat at a summer tea party, and are best served with strawberries and cream
- Strawberry and pistachio cake: this recipe looks too good to be true!
- Strawberry mousse: this is a lower calorie dessert option
- Salmon with strawberry and cucumber: this sounds so zingy and fresh and an alternative to the sweet options!
- Strawberry and avocado salad: super simple yet deliciously creamy salad for a hot summers day
If you’d like to find out more about healthy eating, please visit The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership at http://bhfood.org.uk/