If you're passionate about strawberries, you’re not alone. Strawberries have been highly prized throughout history—the heart-shaped berry was regarded as one of the best aphrodisiacs in provincial France. Strawberries are not just for dessert. Blend them into a smoothie or put them in low-fat yogurt. Add strawberries to salads for fruity flair. Mashed and mixed with balsamic vinegar, strawberries turn into a delicious marinade for chicken or tofu. At night, try a strawberry-based cocktail. Whatever preparation you choose, be sure to get your fill of sweet strawberries while they’re fresh and in season.
What you get: Just 1 cup of strawberries has a respectable 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps keep skin healthy.
Shopping Tip: Strawberries do not ripen further after picking. So it is important to choose plump, bright red berries, as white- or green-tipped strawberries are lacking in flavor. Don’t overlook the little ones—small strawberries are often sweeter than big oness. Strawberries should be free of mold and bruises. Caps should be attached, green and fresh looking. Produce with thin or edible skin is more susceptible to pesticide contamination, and strawberries are no exception, according to the Environmental Working Group. In fact, strawberries rank high on the group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. If your budget allows, we suggest buying organic strawberries. One pound of strawberries will yield about 4 cups hulled or about 3 cups sliced.
How to Store Strawberries: Store berries in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Discard any berries that show signs of mold—it spreads quickly to other berries. Wash the berries gently in cool water just before you plan to eat them, leaving the caps on until after they are washed. To freeze strawberries, hull and wash berries. Pat them dry. Spread in a single layer on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid. Pack the frozen fruit into sealable plastic bags, taking care to remove air from the bags. Freeze for up to 1 year.
“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." —William Allen Butler, 17th century English writer
Fun Fact: Theresa Tallien, a scandalous lady-about-town during the French Revolution, swore that adding strawberries to her bath was the secret to keeping her skin youthful.
Besides succulent fresh, ripe strawberries, the key to a great strawberry shortcake lies in the quality of the biscuit. And this one is top-notch. These tender, sweet buttermilk biscuits are made with a blend of cake flour and whole-wheat flour and lightened by substituting reduced-fat cream cheese for some of the butter. As a delicately tangy alternative to whipped cream, we use a blend of cream and reduced-fat sour cream.
Balsamic vinegar, strawberries and black pepper are a classic Italian trio: spicy and sweet, refined and earthy. Here they combine in a delicious dinner salad, topped with grilled chicken and toasted almonds. This dressing is also great on a salad of arugula, goat cheese and pecans.