The United States is the world’s leading producer of strawberries, which are grown in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada. Although strawberries are now available year-round, peak production occurs from March to May.
More than 20 different species of strawberry plants have been named. The strawberry is actually a member of the rose family, and is unique in that it is the only fruit that carries its seeds on the outside.
One cup of strawberries (about 8 to 10 berries) contains approximately 43 calories, more than 3 grams of fiber and is packed with vitamin C and flavonoids, which help protect the body from oxidative damage. Strawberries are ranked second among the top 10 fruits for their antioxidant capacity.
As a result of their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, strawberry consumption has been linked to a slower decline in age-related cognitive function. Researchers are also investigating the benefits of strawberries in cancer prevention and heart health.
The most popular way to consume strawberries is to eat the whole fruit fresh; however, they can also be frozen, made into preserves or dried and added to other products such cakes, pies, ice creams, yogurts and smoothies. On average, Americans eat about 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries and 1.8 pounds of frozen strawberries per year.
If you would like to add more strawberries to your meals and snacks, try one of the following:
- Mix sliced strawberries into your favorite cereal or yogurt for breakfast.
- Add fresh strawberries to a spinach salad.
- Dip strawberries in melted chocolate for dessert.
- Make smoothies with orange juice, frozen strawberries and yogurt.
- Add strawberries to fruit salad.
- Add a half cup of sliced strawberries to your favorite muffin recipe.
- Combine sliced strawberries with light pancake syrup. Heat for about a minute in the microwave and serve over pancakes or waffles.
- Make a quick trifle with a layer each of blueberries, 2-inch pieces of angel food cake, sliced strawberries and sliced bananas. Finish with a thin layer of light whipped topping and garnish with some additional sliced strawberries and blueberries.
Strawberry Salsa Recipe
Here is an easy strawberry salsa recipe that is versatile for both meals and snacks.
- 1/3 cup 100% fruit apricot preserves
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pound strawberries, stemmed and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- Mix the water, preserves and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Combine gently with the strawberries.
- Serve cold on bagel chips or cinnamon pita chips or layered with plain nonfat yogurt and granola as a parfait. This salsa is also delicious slightly warmed on pancakes, waffles or hot cereal.
Calories: 69, Carbohydrate: 16 grams, Protein: Less than 1 gram, Fat: Less than 1 gram, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams, Fiber: 2 grams, Sodium: 1 milligram
Adapted from a recipe available from the California Strawberry Commission.