Not only do strawberries taste delicious, they are also extremely good for you. They are a fantastic source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They also contain significant amounts of phytonutrients, antioxidants and flavonoids (which is what makes strawberries bright red), which are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease. However, being naturally sweet does mean that they are also rich in natural fruit sugars, therefore don’t go overboard and eat the whole punnet!
How to select and store Strawberries
Choose strawberries that are firm, plump, unblemished, have a strong strawberry smell and are free from mould. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red colour and bright green caps attached. Avoid those that are dull, or have green or yellow patches, as once picked strawberries do not ripen further. Wash and handle them with care, and bring to room temperature before serving.
Best of British
The strawberry season in the UK is short and runs from the end of May through July, although the use of polytunnels have extended the season. Try to choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season as they will have the best flavour. These tend to be available in local greengrocers, farmers markets and some supermarkets - I love the fact that the name of the farmer is included on certain supermarket packets! Imported berries are available all year round in most supermarkets, however in my mind they are a poor relation to our home grown ones and lack the flavour and quality, not to mention the airmiles!
It may come as a surprise to learn that strawberries are a common allergen. If you have allergies to birch pollen, you are more likely to develop a secondary food allergy to strawberries. Most common symptoms are experienced in the mouth and throat - tingling, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. If you are concerned about food allergies or anaphylaxis consult your GP.