Who does not love these heart shaped fruit? Strawberries are the most popular berries in the world.
Whether it is their color or their succulence or their amazing taste, these berries are popular all over the world, even in many foods and drinks that are available out there.
But, one thing that most people do not know is the fact that these strawberries are also full of the goodness of health. Here we shall take a look at some of the healthy aspects of strawberries.
Despite the fact that the strawberry is not a real berry, the fact that this is the most popular and most widely consumed ‘berry’ in the world still stands.
This is actually an aggregate accessory fruit, in which the seeds are attached to the exterior of the fruit. However, it is just as succulent as any other berry.
If the number of recipes made from a particular fruit is any indication, then there is absolutely no question about the prime position that the strawberry has in the world.
Strawberries—What Are They?
Strawberry is actually a group of over twenty different closely related fruits, commonly called by their genus name Fragaria. This red colored fruit contains its seeds outside, on its coat.
The fruit has a heart-shaped shape, which has made the strawberry very popular as a fruit as well as a motif on gifts and cards. The fruits vary in taste.
You could find a very sweet strawberry or a very tart strawberry or something in between.
The fruit is a very commonly grown crop in almost all temperate regions of the world and grows best in the season between September and October.
When it first comes up, the fruit is white, and gradually transforms to its characteristic red color.
Strawberries have a long history of being popular on earth. They were discovered by the Europeans in 1588 after their foray into America.
At that time, the strawberry was mostly a wild berry, which was almost completely neglected.
It was first cultivated properly at the behest of the European settlers, who had developed quite a taste for them!
These people also took strawberries to their homelands and cultivated them.
They were earlier known as heart-seed berries because of their particular shape.
Due to the striking red color, they were also used as garden ornaments by the English and the French elite, Charles V of France being a notable person among them who ordered 1,200 strawberry plants for the gardens that adorned his palace.
Other people in history who were known to love strawberries in some form or the other were Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII who had a natural strawberry tattoo on his neck and Madame Tallien, who used to have baths that were naturally scented with strawberries.
Due to their shape, strawberries have always been considered to be a motif for love.
There was a tradition in some European cultures to feed newlyweds with a strawberry meal because it was believed to enhance the love between them.
Carolus Linnaeus, the person who invented the system of naming the plants and animals with binomial nomenclature, vouched for the health benefits of strawberries.
He was of the strong belief that strawberries, when regularly used, can help in the removal of problems such as bowel cleansing and rheumatic gout.
The strawberry is indeed laden with nutritional goodness. It has a very low fatty content and is low in calories.
It is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C, which makes it one of the most beneficial fruits on the planet.
It has a high amount of fiber as well. It is also healthy in terms of its potassium and folic acid content.
All these points have led to the strawberry being high on various health charts.
The following is a list of some of the benefits of these berries:
The very high amount of antioxidants in strawberries help in the quick repair of wear and tear that occurs in the body. Age-related problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are kept at bay by the regular consumption of these fruits.
The fruit can control and eliminate free radical mechanism, which helps in slowing down the aging process. People who regularly consume strawberries find that aging signs such as scars, spots, wrinkles, etc. appear on their body much later than others.
Since strawberries have a healthy amount of potassium in them, they are also good for maintaining good heart health. People who consume strawberries are kept away from problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease and heart attacks.
Due to their high omega 3 fatty acid content, strawberries are also beneficial in inhibiting the production and retention of cholesterol in the liver.
It helps in controlling the blood sugar level.
Strawberries can improve immunity. They can make the body strong and prevent infections by microorganisms from upsetting the body balance.
Strawberries are also known to remove tartar. The acid content of the strawberries is responsible for this.
Apart from making the teeth cleaner and whiter, strawberries are also responsible for maintaining good health of gums.
Strawberries—How to Get Them
Though strawberries are very abundantly available, it is also a fact that they are one of the most perishable fruits.
You have to make sure to use them within 24 hours of purchasing, especially when the season is warm.
They are easily available in any market, and there is a host of strawberry products available as well.
But, if you are looking to tap into the rich health reserve of the strawberry, then you should buy them when they are in their prime, i.e. in their peak season.
Here are 14 recipes using these wonderful strawberries. Try them on your next meal, dessert or drink.
Spinach, Strawberry & Walnut Salad
4 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup wine vinaigrette
1 cup thickly sliced California strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
1. Toss spinach with vinaigrette.
2. Add berries and walnuts.
3. Toss again.
Nutrition Note: The antioxidants in strawberries and the omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts help keep artery walls healthy. Makes 4 servings
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup white sugar
½ red onion sliced
1 cup toasted flaked coconut
1 (10 oz.) bag of baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1. Combine the lime juice, honey, poppy seeds and mustard in a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in the oil.
3. Combine the almonds, salt, and sugar in large skillet.
4. Stir constantly over medium-low heat for about five minutes or until almonds are light golden brown
5. Remove nuts from the skillet to cool.
6. Toss the spinach, strawberries, coconut, onions and cooled almonds in a large bowl.
7. Top with the prepared dressing and toss to coat.
Sunflower Strawberry Salad
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 medium apple, diced
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced celery
¼ cup raisins
½ cup strawberry yogurt
Lettuce leaves (optional)
1. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, apple, grapes, celery and raisins.
2. Stir in the yogurt.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Add sunflower seeds and toss.
5. Serve on lettuce leaves if desired.
5 fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup raspberry vinaigrette
1 ½ cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 ½ cup chopped fresh cauliflower
½ cup shredded carrot
1. Combine the broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, strawberries, almonds and vinaigrette in a large bowl.
2. Toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.
Sweet and Tart Strawberry Salad
2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large bowl, toss berries with sugar and let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and pepper.
3. Pour over berries and toss to coat.
4. Divide the berries among 4 serving bowls and serve.
Swift Strawberry Salad
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/3 cup cashew halves
1. Place strawberries in a serving bowl.
2. Combine caramel topping, maple syrup, and orange juice.
3. Mix well. Drizzle over the strawberries.
4. Sprinkle with cashews.
Strawberry Peach Cups
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 cups fresh or frozen sliced peaches, thawed
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon grated orange peel
½ cup whipped topping
1. Divide strawberries and peaches among 4 small dishes.
2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, orange juice and orange peel.
3. Fold in whipped topping.
4. Top it over the fruits.
1 (16 oz.) package of strawberry flavored gelatin
1 (6 oz.) package of frozen strawberries
1 (12 oz.) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (18.25 oz.) package of angel food cake mix
1. In a large bowl, mix together flavored gelatin with boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Stir in cold water and frozen strawberries.
3. Chill until slightly thickened to the consistency of egg whites.
4. If adding lots of frozen strawberries, it may reach this stage while stirring.
5. Cut cake into cubes or just rip it into bite size chunks and trim off the dark brown edges.
6. Gently fold in frozen whipped topping and cake into the strawberry mixture.
7. Chill until set.
8. Decorate the top with any extra topping and strawberries
4 cups water
1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
2 (6 oz.) packages of strawberry flavored gelatin
1 (8 oz.) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1. Combine gelatin with 2 cups boiling water and mixed well.
2. When dissolved, add 2 cups of cold water, mix and refrigerate.
3. Before gelatin is completely firm, stir in the strawberries and thawed the whipped topping.
4. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
Grandma’s Strawberry Milkshake
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
6 cubes ice
4 oz. strawberries, hulled
1. In a blender, combine ice cubes, strawberries, milk, and honey.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
1 (6 oz.) can of frozen lemonade concentrate
5 large fresh strawberries, hulled
2 cups ice cubes
1 cup water
1. Place the ice cubes, water, and lemonade concentrate into the container of a blender.
2. Process until the ice is finely blended.
3. Add the strawberries and puree until they are well blended.
4. Taste and adjust the flavors according to your preference.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt
½ cup frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon honey
1. Combine yogurt, bananas, strawberries, wheat germ, and honey in a blender.
2. Blend for about 1 minute or until smooth.
Strawberry-Orange Juice Smoothie
10 ice cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1. In a blender, combine strawberries, orange juice, ice cubes and sugar.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour into glasses and serve.
4 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
1. In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry.
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
3. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.
5. Boil while stirring often until the mixture reaches to 220 degrees F or 105 degrees C.
6. Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving ¼ to ½ inch headspace and seal.
7. Process them in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don’t bother with the processing and just refrigerate.
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