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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
Strawberries 1

Sweet Beginnings of Summer with Succulent Strawberries


Does anything seem quite as delicious as the juicy sweetness of a ripe strawberry? With that tempting vision, you will want to know that May is National Strawberry Month and also a month where strawberries are starting to be grown locally in Illinois (maybe even in your own gardens).

A favorite fruit of many, strawberries are a classic nutritious fruit. A 1-cup serving of sliced fresh strawberries contains around 50 calories, 13g carbohydrates, and 3g fiber, and is a good source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Like many fresh fruits, it contains no fat or sodium and very little protein.

While you can find strawberries year-round in stores, the best quality and lowest prices will be in late spring and summer months. Or learn to grow your own below with WEB HIGHLIGHT 1.

  • Buy: Strawberries will not ripen after picking, so choose fresh strawberries that are deep red and firm without bruising or mold. If choosing processed strawberries, such as frozen or pre-sliced in a refrigerator case – look for those without added sugar.
  • Price: The lowest prices on strawberries will be when they are in-season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on average, fresh strawberries are priced around $0.90 per cup and $1.14 per cup when frozen.
  • Store: Keep unwashed strawberries in your refrigerator for several days. Wash right before you eat them to prevent faster spoilage. See WEB HIGHLIGHT 2 below for a video on washing strawberries.

Or freeze them yourself for longer storage with instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

  • Prepare: Wash before eating and prepare as you want: whole, sliced, diced, etc. While often presented whole with the stem and leaves still attached, remember not to eat those.
  • Eat: Commonly eaten as a fruit side to meals or as a snack, strawberries work well in sweet and savory dishes too, such as baked goods, toppings to salads, in salsa, and more.

Reference: US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Save your deliciously ripe strawberries to eat fresh and enjoy their flavor, but make use of less ripe strawberries in this dessert.

Balsamic Strawberries over Ice Cream (serves 4)

Sweet and savory are well matched in this dessert. For fewer calories, buy reduced-fat or no-sugar-added ice cream. Or try cooking the strawberries without the sugar and let the natural sweet-tartness of the strawberries come through.

2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 pint strawberries, washed, stemmed, halved
2 cups vanilla ice cream

1. Combine sugar and vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture simmers.
3. Add strawberries and cook, stirring often, about 3-5 minutes or until soft.
4. Spoon strawberry mixture over ice cream and serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 200 calories, 9g fat, 35mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein

WEB HIGHLIGHT 1: Learn more about strawberries through UI Extension website Strawberries and More, including growing, preparing, and finding sources locally.

WEB HIGHLIGHT 2: Watch this video for instructions on "How to Wash Strawberries" from What's Cookin' with Mary Liz. Mary Liz is a fellow Extension Educator.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT: Want to try your hand at making strawberry jam? From the What's Cookin' with Mary Liz series, watch the instructions on "Canning Strawberry Jam."

And look for "Yes! You Can" home canning classes this summer online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp/.



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