Strawberries: A Vitamin C Powerhouse?>

Strawberries: A Vitamin C Powerhouse

by Berkeley Wellness

The strawberry, as we know it today, is the product of horticultural fiddling around, beginning with a wild strawberry plant from Virginia that was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Several hundred years later, this original North American plant was crossbred with a plant from South America to produce the ancestor of just about every commercial breed of strawberry grown in the world today. Further horticultural fiddling in the United States has produced strawberries suited to the climate of each of the states (and it’s all 50 of them) that grows strawberries.

Some people have an allergic reaction to strawberries—they break out in hives. The substance in the fruit that causes the reaction is unknown, but it appears to make body cells release histamine, which causes the hives. Antihistamines can control the hives, but people who have this reaction to strawberries are advised to avoid them altogether.

Types of Strawberries

Some 70 varieties of strawberries are produced commercially, mostly in California and Florida. Here's a sampling of the main types.

Strawberries: Nutrition

These plump, sweet, ruby-like berries are nutritional jewels: They are rich in dietary fiber and offer good amounts of vitamin C—more than any other berry.

For a full listing of nutrients, see Strawberries in the National Nutrient Database.

How to Choose the Best Strawberries

Learn what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for strawberries.

How to store and freeze strawberries

Strawberries are highly perishable; they can turn soft, mushy, and moldy within 24 hours. When you bring home a box of berries, turn it out and check the fruit. Immediately eat any soft, overripe, but still sweet-smelling strawberries. Discard any smashed berries with an “off” smell and any moldy berries. Gently blot the remainder dry with a paper towel. Place the berries in a shallow refrigerator container lined with paper towels.

Strawberries freeze well, allowing you to enjoy them practically year round. It is simple to freeze strawberries yourself. Pick over the berries, but do not wash them. Then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the berries in the freezer until they are solidly frozen, and then transfer them to a heavy plastic bag or freezer container. They will keep for 10 months to a year.

You can buy prepackaged frozen berries with or without added sweetener, but beware that added sweetener can more than double their calorie content.

How to use strawberries

Leave the caps on the strawberries until after they’re rinsed and drained so the berries don’t absorb water. Rinse the fruit, drain, and gently pat dry. Use a paring knife, or a pincer-like strawberry huller to take off the caps and the hard white core of flesh directly beneath the cap.

Frozen berries need not be thawed before using them in recipes, but extra cooking time may be necessary. Commercially frozen berries do not require washing, but home-frozen berries should be quickly rinsed under cold water before you use them.

7 Ways to Serve Strawberries

Strawberries are a favorite fruit for jams and shortcake, but you can enjoy them in so many more ways. Here are seven serving suggestions to try.

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