Ahhhh, the joys of summer! You know we are about to rocket off into this free spirited season when we get the first tastes of native grown strawberries! As pretty as they are sweet, these perfect little gems of nature are neither a fruit nor a berry (what? We’ll explain later). But we don’t care. We’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and, of course… dessert!
Although most commercial United States strawberries are grown in sunny California, (a whopping 80% of them!) strawberries also do well in colder New England. Strawberries in this region are usually the first “fruit” of the year to ripen. Some pick your own farms start in May but the season typically begins the first week in June and can continue into early July.
Strawberries are an interesting plant as they are not technically considered a fruit nor are they a true berry since a berry will contain its seed on the inside and the romantic little strawberry wears theirs on their sleeve or rather on its outside! So what are these bundles of sweetness then? They are members of the rose family (a good trivia question and/or answer!). And, to add to the complexity of the strawberry, from a botanical point of view, they are considered “accessory fruits” because of how the fleshy parts of this berry grow together to make one delicious bite after bite!
And, by “accessory fruit” we don’t mean these… but if you are a fanatic there’s a designer who will fullfill your every strawberry dream! Strawberry Daiquiri Pump – Alice & Olivia, Strawberry Purse – Kate Spade, Tropical Punch Fruity Pendant – Betsey Johnson
Not only are strawberries abundant in vitamin C, folate and potassium but they contain many plant compounds with powerful health benefits including cholesterol and blood pressure lowering power, cancer prevention and they can even give a good wallop to inflammation in the body. All the more reason to eat them morning, noon and night!
A word about pesticides
With American’s eating 8 pounds of strawberries a year it important to note that you may be eating almost as much pesticide as strawberry if you don’t wash them before popping them into your mouth. Strawberries (along with spinach) have topped the EWG’s (Evironmental Working Group) 2017 “Dirty Dozen” list. The EWG’s study found the most contaminated strawberries contained 20 different pesticides! But there are simple ways to avoid the chemicals:
- Grow them yourself
- Buy organic (but still wash them!)
- Pick-Your-Own – According to some studies available on the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) strawberries that are grown in protected environments like a greenhouse may contain more pesticide residue than strawberries grown in the open. Find your local pick-your-own farm (check here, if you live in New England) and if pesticide information use isn’t readily available then ask.
- Wash them – Keeping in mind that non-organic strawberries may still contain some pesticide within the fruit itself (who knew?), washing them is the best way to get them free of a lot of the residue. It can be tricky to wash soft fruit like strawberries but Happy Healthy Mama has a good way to get it done with vinegar!
So, without hesitation let’s enjoy some strawberries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and don’t forget to save room for dessert!
Because we like to start the day off healthy we chose this Chocolate Strawberry Granola. Mix with your favorite yogurt or snack on your way to work…YUM!
Check out this Avocado strawberry and goat cheese sandwich, you can easily bring the ingredients and heat up in the office toaster oven!
Strawberries can easily have a savory side and their shape make them great for piercing onto a skewer! Try this Balsamic Chicken and Strawberry Skewer recipe from Holdthegrain.com
Of course we chose strawberry shortcake! We loved this recipe for the BEST strawberry shortcake from Bon Appetit.
Do you have a favorite strawberry recipe to share? A tried and proven way to wash the fruit or great PYO spot you want to share? Let us know!