Strawberries are an easy way to get your 2-3 servings of fruits per day. One-half cup of strawberries or eight medium strawberries are a serving.
One serving of strawberries has only 45 calories and provided all of the Vitamin C needed daily. Vitamin C plays an important part in our diets and health. Vitamin C is important in maintaining bone strength, healthy teeth, blood vessels blood flow, our immune system to stay strong, and helps our body absorb iron better. For the best nutritional benefit eat your strawberries soon after preparing them.
Buying & Preparing Strawberries
When buying, preparing, or picking strawberries, look for bright red, fully ripened berries that are plump and firm. Caps of the strawberries should be fresh, green and intact, avoiding mushy, brown, shriveled berries or berries that have begun to grow mold.
When you get home from the supermarket, take your strawberries out of the container, leaving the caps on, and place in a shallow container in the refrigerator without washing. When you are ready to use your strawberries wash them gently under cold flowing water in a colander. You should never let them soak in water.
One quart of berries will yield approximately 3¼ cups whole berries, 2¼ cups sliced berries, 12/3 cups pureed berries.
Many of us like to buy a large amount of strawberries when they are available at a low price and like to freeze them for use year round. Strawberries freeze well with or without sugar and the texture, color and flavor are better when sugar is used.
Freezing Berries with Sugar
Sprinkle sugar over washed whole or sliced berries. Use ½ to ¾ cup of sugar to 4-5 cups sliced berries. Turn berries gently with a spoon until all are coated with sugar. Let berries set 5-10 minutes to make their own juice. Add one teaspoon of ascorbic acid* moisture to the sugar to help protect the color and Vitamin C. Pack berries in moisture-proof resealable bags or containers. Fill containers leaving ½ inch of space at top. Place a small piece of crumpled wax paper on top of berries to hold berries under juice. Seal and label the bags. Freeze quickly in your freezer.
Freezing Berries without Sugar
To freeze berries without sugar, place in a single layer on a tray or cookie sheet, cover lightly and freeze quickly until firm. Remove from pan, and package airtight in plastic bags or containers. If they are to be used for preserves or jam, measure and bag before freezing.
* Ascorbic acid is found in stores with product names such as: Fruit Fresh or ACM.
For more information or a copy of “It’s Strawberry Time” publication, please contact Mandy G. Armentor, LDN, RD, Area Nutrition Agent, in the Vermilion Parish LSU AgCenter Office at 1105 W. Port St. in Abbeville or call 898-4335.