Benefits of Strawberries and over 30 ways to use them!
Strawberry picking is one of the nostalgic memories I have of my youth and it is a tradition I have passed on to my children. Very rarely do we ever miss a strawberry season that we don’t go picking as a family. With the old red wagon and containers in tow, we head out into the fields and end the day with stained hands, a full belly, and buckets of berry goodness. But all good things must come to an end so we do our best to preserve their sweet delicious taste any way we can.
I have some earth-shattering news for you, did you know that a Strawberry isn’t even a berry?? Technically, the strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it.
Now is your mind blown? No? Then keep reading, because these delicious aggregates have some pretty incredible benefits, some of which you never heard of.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
I firmly believe strawberries were given their hard-to-resist flavor so we would consume and devour them in order for our bodies to receive all of the health benefits they have to offer; health food never tasted so good.
- There are over 600 varieties of strawberries and they rank among the top 10 fruits and vegetables in antioxidant capacity. Their deep, rich hue supplies their high flavonoid content, a topic of research in many studies supporting the health benefits attained by consuming strawberries on a regular basis.
- The flavonoid quercetin, contained in strawberries, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in animal studies.
- Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin, consuming strawberries may help to alleviate symptoms of allergies including runny nose, watery eyes and hives- read more about Natural Remedies for Allergies.
- Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body
- One serving of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C—about half of your daily requirement
Benefits of Strawberries in Personal Care
Strawberries have been an ingredient in personal care products for a long time, unfortunately, they include many petroleum based and synthetic ingredients along with it. You can make your own, healthy, beneficial and natural strawberry skin care products for a fraction of the cost.
- Not only are strawberries packed with antioxidants, but they also repair damage to the skin’s cell membranes.
- The antioxidants present in strawberries protect the skin from UV damage.
- Strawberries also contain vitamin B complex, glucose, carotene, and amino acids, all of which help improve the complexion.
- Strawberries removes plaque build-up from your teeth. Make a paste of strawberries and leave on your teeth for 5 mins, then brush as regular and rinse. We use this technique and have wonderful results with it.
Benefits of Strawberries-Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses. Promoting a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system are their most widely studied benefits at this time. These are also commonly known as friendly, good, or healthy bacteria.
How to Grow Strawberries
Strawberries are a plant once and enjoy for years to come. Like most hardy perennials, strawberries die back in winter and start growing vigorously as the soil warms in spring. Strawberries can be grown from zone 6 and up and can be planted in the ground or in pots for colder climates.
As I mentioned above, strawberry picking is a family tradition I have enjoyed my entire life. Sadly, many small farms are closing every day and finding a U-Pick farm so your family can enjoy the harvest is getting harder and harder to find. So grab your spouse, kids, grand-kids or friend and support your local farms.
How to Store Fresh Strawberries
After spending a day picking strawberries, the last thing you want to do is let them go bad before you have had a chance to enjoy them. The optimal humidity level to store your berries is between 80-90% , most refrigerators will average a much lower humidity (between 80-90%). Because air circulation inside the fridge can lower humidity, you may want to give your strawberries more storage humidity by putting them in your refrigerator’s cold storage bins (if available). Those cold storage bins will help boost humidity by reducing air circulation. If your fridge does not have storage bins, you can use a sealed container for refrigerator storage of your strawberries. Optimal temperature for strawberry storage over a 2-day period has been found to be relatively cold—36F. All public health organizations recommend refrigerator temperatures of 40F as the maximum safe level for food storage. However, if you are storing sizable amounts of fruits and vegetables—including strawberries—in your refrigerator, you may want to consider setting your refrigerator to a lower-than-maximum temperature setting in the range of 36-38F.
As with most fruits and vegetables, it is best to eat shortly after it has been picked for optimal nutritional content. Studies show 2 days as the maximal time for strawberry storage without major loss of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants.
Cooking With Strawberries
Yes, I saved the best for last- eating strawberries. Strawberries are that universal food that can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and dessert. Here are some family approved recipes that everyone is sure to enjoy!
Special thanks to Miracle and Jimmy from Home Sweet Farms for sharing their wonderful strawberries with us and offering a U-Pick farm for all of us to enjoy!