Food Focus: Strawberries

It’s hard to believe that strawberry season is right around the corner. We’re all quite familiar with these sweet, tangy, and bright red berries. But did you know that on top of being naturally delicious, they’re also a rockstar superfood?

Strawberries are often relegated to the world of desserts and jams, but after learning more about these antioxidant powerhouses, you’ll crave them in every meal!

What do they look like?

Strawberries are red, heart-shaped berries that are roughly the size of a golf ball. This fruit has a green leafy hull attached to the top that must be removed before eating (also can be used as a handle when eating).

A majority of berries found in the grocery store produce section are large and lighter in color, but for a fresh experience, you’ll find that local or homegrown berries will likely be smaller, darker, and sweeter.

What do they taste like?

Depending on the crop, strawberries can range from being sugary sweet to tart and tangy. They’re juicy and refreshing, with a firm, but slightly grainy texture. A perfect treat on a warm summer day!

Why are they good for me?

Just like their berry siblings, strawberries are packed with antioxidants. In fact, strawberries rank among one of the best sources of these anti-inflammatories that help prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Strawberries are also one of the best fruit sources for vitamin C and manganese.

When and where do I get them?

Strawberries are available year round at nearly every major grocery store, but you may want to skip over those berries if they aren’t organic. Conventionally grown strawberries are one of the “dirtiest” produce items in the grocery store with a high concentration of pesticides. Try to find organically grown berries at your supermarket, or look for chemical-free options at your local farmer’s market.

How do I prepare them?

For the best flavor and nutrition, eating strawberries raw is the way to go. A quick rinse under cool water, and you’re ready to chow down. You can eat them whole (just make sure to not munch on the green, leafy hull) or you can slice them and add them into yogurt, salad, or on top of cereal. You can also enhance the flavor of your water by adding in a couple of sliced strawberries!

What are some good recipes?

If you’re sick of the standard strawberry fare, check out of some of these interesting takes on summer’s favorite berry.
* Strawberry Banana Buckwheat Bake
* High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad
* Healthy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Squares
* Strawberry Balsamic Pizza
* Strawberry and Spinach Salad
* Strawberry Leather

What is your favorite way to use strawberries?

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!