Spring has officially arrived, which means strawberries are here! California alone produces one billion pounds of these tasty berries each year; if these were all placed side-by-side, they would circle the globe 15 times! For those diehard strawberry fans, there is even a museum in Belgium dedicated entirely to strawberries. This succulent fruit has been around for hundreds of years and is mentioned quite a lot throughout history. Strawberries were considered a luxury food up until the mid-19th century, and in medieval times they were served at important functions to help bring peace and prosperity. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries helped alleviate fevers, bad breath, and other ailments. Not only are strawberries delicious, they are also a natural antioxidant and high in the nutrients Vitamin A, C, and potassium, just to name a few.
It has been widely publicized that strawberries are one of the “dirty dozen,” the twelve foods recommended to purchase organic due to their higher rate of contamination. Other fruits/veggies on this list include apples, celery, grapes, and spinach. So, how do you decide whether to buy organic or regular strawberries? While it would be ideal to buy organic, it can hardly be a reality, particularly for most college students. Organic produce costs more and is not always available. The bottom line is that it’s better to eat “regular” fruits and vegetables and wash them well with some vegetable wash, than to not eat them at all. Here are a few tips for buying and storing strawberries:
- Strawberries are very fragile, so they usually can only be in the fridge for about an hour to avoid losing nutrients, taste, and texture.
- Although large strawberries usually look more appealing, medium-sized strawberries are actually more flavorful
- Berries should be firm and dry to the touch
- Avoid visibly bruised and moldy strawberries
- Choose those that are deep red in color
- Don’t wash until right before you eat them
Strawberries are a great addition to salads to add a little bit of sweetness and texture, or you can enjoy them dipped in chocolate or served in a strawberry shortcake for a sweet dessert. Enjoy them as much as possible now, as they are much sweeter and juicier when in season!
photos: Rachel Weidt