Juicy heart shaped strawberries have much more to offer beyond sweetness and flavour.
The Strawberry is called ‘The Queen of Fruits’ In Asian countries because it’s packed with health benefits. Compared to fruits like apples, oranges or bananas, strawberries have the highest amount of nutrients.
“Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent & sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.” – Jasmine Heiler
I ♥ Strawberries. I am very happy when strawberries are in season and growing in my garden. They rarely get into the fridge as I eat them as soon as I pick them.
10 Health Benefits of Strawberries:
- Helps burn stored fat:
The red colouring contains anthocyanins; they stimulate the burning of stored fat. There was reduced weight gain in animals fed a high fat diet. – Research, The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
- Boost short term memory:
The anthocyanins boost short-term memory by 100 % in eight weeks. – The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
- 3. Low Calories – High Fiber:
One cup contains only 49 calories.
- Eases Inflammation
By lowering blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. In a study, women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of CRP. – Research at the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Lower cardiovascular disease
Flavonoids which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries have been found to help.
- Promotes bone health
Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium which are important for bone health.
- Prevent oesophageal cancer
Studies indicate the potential of freeze-dried strawberry powder for preventing human oesophageal cancer.
- Anti-aging properties
Filled with have biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails. Also contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.
- Good for weight loss:
The compound nitrate found in strawberries which promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body helps with weight loss.
- Promotes eye health:
Eating three or more servings of fruit like strawberries may lower the risk of macular degeneration. – Study in Archives of Ophthalmology.
Strawberries are considered to be one of the healthiest fruits. They are packed with antioxidants, lower blood pressure and protect your heart. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, they are also sodium, cholesterol and fat free.
Contains 54 calories in 1 cup of strawberries (sliced, 166g) which is 1/3 the amount of calories in a banana.
Read more about Strawberry Nutrition and Calories
We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel. – Golda Meir
Cautions for some people:
Oxalates which are commonly found in animal, plants and human being may sometime cause health problems. Strawberries contain reasonable amount of oxalates, but when it became too concentrated in our body fluids they will be crystalized causing serious problems on our health.
It is advised that people with existing and untreated gallbladder or kidney problems may want to avoid having strawberries. Research shows that oxalates may interfere with the absorption of calcium in our body. But more in-depth study will need to be conducted to prove this.
History of Strawberries
Strawberries have grown wild throughout the world for a long time.
- 234 B.C there is evidence that strawberries grew wild in Italy.
- 1300 – France began cultivating strawberries for use as a medicinal herb.
- 1400 – European monks start using strawberries for their illuminated manuscripts.
- 1500s references of cultivation of the strawberry became more common. People began using it for its supposed medicinal properties.
- 1588 – Were discovered in Virginia by the first Europeans when their ships landed there.
- 1643 – Early settlers in Massachusetts enjoyed eating strawberries grown by local American Indians who cultivated strawberries.
- Late 18th century – First garden strawberry was grown in France.
- 1835 – First American strawberries were cultivated.
- 1900’s – California began growing strawberries and now produces 80% of the strawberries in the US, one billion pounds of strawberries a year!
Fun and Interesting Facts about Strawberries
- Folk lore states that if you split a double strawberry in half and shares it with the opposite sex; you’ll soon fall in love.
- There are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that differ in flavour, size and texture.
- Strawberry designs are carved in medieval stone masons as the sign of perfection and righteousness. These designs are often carved on altars, around the top pillars in cathedral and churches.
- The strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shapes and red color.
- Madame Tallien known as the pronounced figure at the court of Emperor Napoleon was popular for bathing in the strawberry juice of 22 pounds of strawberries.
- Legend has been told that strawberries were named by English children who picked, strung it on grass straws and sold them as “Straws of berries”,
- Strawberries belong to the family of rose together with apples and plums.
- Strawberries are not classified as berries. Blueberries and raspberries have seeds inside while strawberries have their seeds outside.
- Strawberries were once thought to be an aphrodisiac and were served in soups to newlyweds in 13th century France.
- Ancient Romans used strawberries alleviated symptoms of fainting, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, halitosis, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
- At Wimbledon each year, strawberries and cream are eaten between tennis matches by properly attired English.
How to Buy Strawberries
Buy ORANIC STRAWBERRIES! If I cannot find or afford organic strawberries I eat another fruit instead.
Do not buy inorganic strawberries; nearly 60 different pesticides have been found on strawberries. Strawberries are always one of the top EWG’s Dirty Dozen Foods EWG’s Dirty Dozen Foods the fungus prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue remains on berries sold even at farmers markets. Strawberries are the most chemically intensive crop in California.
Read about the dangers of toxic strawberries to you, the growers and the environment.
Now, here is what to look for once you have found organic strawberries.
For full nutrition and flavour buy fresh strawberries. They need to be firm, plump, have a deep red color, and have green caps and with a light fragrance.
Strawberries, once picked, do not ripen further so do not pick those that are dull in color or have green or yellow patches as they are well be sour.
Small strawberries are sweeter and more flavourful. Eat your strawberries as soon as possible.
If buying strawberries in a pack, check the package to make sure that there are no signs of mould. Even if there is one moulded strawberry do not buy them. Research has shown that moulds are linked to health problems and even cancer. Fruits and vegetables with high moisture content can be contaminated below the surface. http://www.foodreference.com/html/mold-on-food.html
How to Store Strawberries
It is best to consume strawberries as soon as you harvest or purchase them. Keeping them in the refrigerator will not improve their quality.
- They should be kept in a room temperature for a few hours. Anthocyanin which is responsible for the red colour of strawberries are heat sensitive, this is the reason for the browning of strawberries under warm temperature.
- Unwashed strawberries should be stored loosely, cover with plastic wrap and should be placed on the coldest part of your refrigerator for about 2 days maximum as they lose nutrients quickly.
- Only wash strawberries when ready to consume as they easily perish. To wash strawberries, place them in a colander and rinse them under running cold water. Do not soak them for they will lose their colour and flavour. Do not remove their caps until after you have washed the berries
- If you want frozen strawberries; wash them gently, let them dry and remove the caps. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze. Place them in a zip-top bag once frozen. Make sure to suck out all the air and seal. You may keep them in your freezer up to 6 months.
How to grow strawberries
Every June and July when strawberries appear into gardens and the farmers markets where in Canada, I am reminded of growing a large patch in England. One year I picked 30 pounds. Now, I have a little strawberry patch in my garden that I have been eating strawberries every day for 2 weeks. Photo coming.
Learn how to grow your own strawberries: How To Grow Strawberries
How to Enjoy Strawberries
As if you need to be told!
Easiest is to simply wash and eat them. Yum!
Put them in fruit salads.
Here are a few of my favourite recipes:
Strawberry Jam Sugar and Pectin Free.
Strawberry Crumble sugar free – gluten free – dairy free
Strawberry MilkShake A classic!
Strawberry Peach Green Smoothie This is a great snack or breakfast.
Strawberry Peach Vegan Ice Cream As you might guess this is crazy delicious. No sugar or dairy.
About Diana Herrington
I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Have been teaching cooking classes worldwide since 1982. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.