Thursday, February 27, 2014


The strawberry, a member of the rose family, is unique in that it is the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than the inside. Strawberries have been known since the time of the Greeks and Romans and cultivation of strawberries began in 1624. Commercial growing in America began about 1800 on the east coast of the United States. Strawberries moved west with the pioneers and now there are more than seventy varieties of strawberries, many of which are grown in California and Florida. This familiar fruit is usually available fresh year round with a peak from April to July.

Selection. Look for bright red berries with fresh green caps on. When you remove the caps you tear cells in the berries, activating ascorbic acid oxidase, an enzyme that destroys Vitamin C. Visually check each package, making sure there are no signs of mold growth. If one berry is molded, mold spores will have traveled throughout the entire package. Research has linked mold to some forms of cancer, always avoid moldy berries. When            purchasing strawberries by the pound, one-and-a-half pounds equal one quart. This will yield about four cups of sliced strawberries.

Handling & Storage. Use strawberries as soon after harvesting or purchasing as possible. Refrigerator storage does not improve the quality of fresh strawberries. Berries should not be left at room temperature for more than a few hours. 
Warm temperatures cause a browning effect in strawberries. The pigments that make strawberries red, anthocyanin, are heat sensitive. They break apart and turn brown when exposed to heat. Strawberries also lose heat-sensitive Vitamin C during browning, heating and cooking. Store unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at most. Do not wash berries until ready to use. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.1
Before handling the strawberries, wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. To wash the strawberries, place the berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Do not allow berries to set in water as they will lose color and flavor. After washing, remove the green cap with a plastic-tipped vegetable peeler or paring knife without removing any of the fruit.
1Ottawa Farms, Bloomingdale, Georgia  • 912-748-3035

University of Illinois Extension Service

Serving Size: 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (166 gms) 

Calories 50
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 11.65 grams
Dietary Fiber 3.81 grams
Calcium 23.24 mg
Iron 0.63 mg
Magnesium 16.60 mg
Phosphorus 31.54 mg
Potassium 44.82 mg
Selenium 1.16 mg
Vitamin C 94.12 mg
Folate 29.38 mcg
Vitamin A 44.82 IU

Measuring Strawberries

1 1/2 pounds = 2 pints or 1 quart
1 small basket = 1 pint
1 pint = 3 1/4 cups whole berries
1 pint = 2 1/4 cups sliced berries
1 pint = 1 2/3 cup pureed berries
1 cup = about 4 ounces 

Strawberry Crumb Bars

1 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zest of
1 cup vegetable margarine, cold and cut into pieces
1/3 apple sauce
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 lemon, juice of

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and flour. Mix in the salt and the lemon zest, and stir together with a fork. Cut in the margarine and apple sauce with a pastry blender until the largest chunks are about pea-sized. The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour. Spread about half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the strawberries with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the berries. 

Bake mixture in a 375 °F preheated the oven for about 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Makes about 24 bars.

Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho 

1 pound fresh tomatoes, cored and quartered (do not peel)
1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes and strawberries. Add the vinegar and blend again.  Chill thoroughly, at least an hour. If desired, garnish with 6 to 8 whole strawberries with stems and/or
6 to 8 sprigs of cilantro.
Serves 6 to 8.

Strawberry Salsa

1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 green onion, finely chopped, top included
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill, serve with the protein dish of your choice. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Strawberry-Blueberry Salad

4 cups of fresh spinach
1 cup fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced)
1 cup fresh blueberries (washed) 
chopped pecans or chopped walnuts for topping

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. In a large bowl, add spinach, strawberries, and blueberries and toss together. Reserve a few slices of strawberry and blueberries for decoration if desired. Serve with dressing of your choice. A nice balsamic vinaigrette works well. Serves 4.

Strawberry Sorbet

1 quart full-flavored fresh strawberries 
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate 
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Puree all ingredients in a food processor, pour into a bowl, cover, and freeze for
 3 or 4 hours. Remove the bowl from the freezer about every 45 minutes and puree again for a smooth consistency. Let the sorbet sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Strawberry Iced Tea

2 cups whole frozen strawberries 
32 fluid ounces brewed tea (cooled) 
¼ to ½ cup organic sugar (to your taste) 
¼ cup lemon juice 

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Take 5 strawberries out of the bag and set aside. Blend the remaining strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain the pureed berries, discard seeds. Mix together pureed strawberries, tea, lemon juice, and desired amount of sugar. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with ice and reserved strawberries berries as garnishes. Serves 5.