Punnet Full of Goodness
A Punnet Full of Goodnessby Dallas Downes
You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love the delicious taste of fresh strawberries.
They are one of the more versatile fruits as they can be enjoyed as part of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, strawberries can be used as part of your dinner! And of course, strawberries are most loved in their dessert form. Read on to discover why so many people claim the strawberry to be their favourite fruit. No wonder strawberries share the same family as the rose!
Ideally, we should be eating 2 fruit and 5 vegetables a day. Strawberries make it easy to reach the 2 fruit goal, and so we should include them in our daily diet because of the many health benefits which they have to offer.
Due to their phytochemicals, Strawberries have been found to fight caner and tumors. Studies have shown that a daily intake of the berry can bring down the growth of canerous cells. Good news for those who enjoy their strawberry daiquires because furthur research has found that mixing the berries with alcohol boosts their cancer-fighting properties. The alcohol maximies the strawberry’s ability to soak up the harmful molecules linked to cancer, heart disease and arthirtis.
Those suffering from high blood pressure should also up their strawberry intake. With its high potassium and magnesium content, the strawberry is very effective in lowering blood pressure caused by sodium.
Feeling as if your memory just isn’t as sharp as it used to be? If so, you’ve just found another excuse to indulge in your favourite fruit.
Compounds in strawberries help protect your brain and preserve your memory. Their high level of iodine is also helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Who knew that something so tasty is also something so good for you? If only we could say the same about Caramello Koalas…
When buying strawberry’s at the grocery store, it pays to be selective in your choices. The saying “bigger is better” does not apply to strawberries. Most people would think that the larger the fruit, the better quality in taste, however, quite often it is the smaller strawberries that are sweeter and juicer. Look out for strawberries that are fully coloured, firm, plump, bright and shiny. Buy strawberries only if they still have their green cap attached; making sure it is fresh looking. The placement of the seeds is also another indicator as to how good the strawberry is. Seeds should be sprinkled evenly on the fruit and make sure there are no dark spots. It is important to note that strawberries do not ripen after they have been picked, so choose those that are already fully ripened.
When buying strawberries packed in containers, be aware of those that appear to be seeping juice, or those with obvious dark spots; a good indicator that these strawberries are to be left behind. It is also important to take notice of the strawberries towards the bottom of the pack and these ones often are flawed and therefore less desirable.
STORING & WASHING STRAWBERRIES
As the moisture content of strawberries is high, always remove them from their punnets and store them uncovered, in a colander in the refrigerator, preferably one that has been lined with absorbent paper. Leave the green cap attached to the strawberry until you have washed them and plan to use them. This is because the cap serves as a barrier to the water, as the water breaks down the texture and flavour inside the berries. When washing strawberries, only use a light spray of cool water and then pat dry them with a paper towel to avoid any water absorption.
Freezing strawberries allows you to keep them for up to one year but in order to keep them in top condition it is important to follow a few simple rules. Firstly, strawberries should be frozen individually as to ensure maximum firmness once they are defrosted. Rinse the berries in iced water and drain them well, before laying them out on a tray in a single layer. The strawberries can now be placed in the freezer until frozen.
Western Australia is Australia’s leading exporter of strawberries, accounting for more than 85% of exports from Australia. Strawberries are an important crop in the temperate areas of Western Australia and are grown in soils ranging from light sands to loam. The Shire of Wanneroo, north of Perth, accounts for about 70 per cent of the State’s production. Mt Barker and Albany, on the south coast are the other major production areas and because of their cooler climate can produce later into the season than Wanneroo. Winter crops are increasingly being produced in greenhouses and under protection.
Strawberries are available throughout the year but supply is heaviest during the spring months of September to November. Crops in the Perth region are heaviest from September to December and southern crops from October to March.
Whether you eat them with your cereal, snack on them after lunch or even use them to make a delicious strawberry chicken dinner, strawberries provide you with copious amounts of health benefits. It really is no wonder so many people enjoy this little, or big, red berry.
So, keep healthy and flourish with the berry that is anything but as boring as straw!
- Did you know that one serving of 8 medium sized strawberries has more Vitamin C than an orange, contains only 50 calories, has no cholesterol and no saturated fats?
- We’re not really a berry but a member of the rose family and the real fruits are actually the tiny yellow seeds on our outsides
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