Strawberry pickin’ is upon us


By Sydney Johnson - Contributing columnist



Sydney Johnson


April has been such a beautiful month and has brought us some delicious, ruby red strawberries. I have seen many pictures of friends visiting local strawberry farms, bucket in hand, to pick their favorite berries to enjoy. In honor of the Strawberry Festival that is coming up the second weekend of May in Wallace, I wanted to share some fun facts about strawberries.

First and foremost, strawberries are considered a superfood because they are packed with nutrients. Although we call them strawberries, they are actually not considered a true berry because their seeds are on the outside of the fruit. An average strawberry has around 200 seeds and each “seed” on the outside is considered an individual fruit. Strawberries are also super because only half a cup of them can provide 81% of your recommended Daily Value of vitamin C, the vitamin that helps boost your immune system! We need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C because our bodies cannot make this vitamin on its own. Other benefits of vitamin C include healing cuts and wounds, lowering the risk of infection, keeping our gums healthy, aiding in iron absorption, and acting as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage. Did you know eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than one orange? Those little berries pack a powerful nutrient punch.

Strawberries are a great way to add fruit to any meal or snack. After rinsing under cool water of course, you can freeze your strawberries to add to a smoothie. Try blending them along with some frozen bananas to make a healthy, homemade ice cream. You can also chop up fresh strawberries and put them on top of your yogurt, cereal, or cream cheese bagel, or infuse them in your water to give your beverage some extra flavor. Strawberries can also be dried or made into jams, preserves, or syrup.

To store strawberries, you can keep them in a ventilated container, such as the plastic ones they come in at the grocery store, and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator – around 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical shelf life is 5-7 days. You may also wash, cap, and freeze strawberries. Opt for a freezer friendly container or a freezer bag. You can keep most fruits and vegetables in your freezer for 8-12 months at 0 degrees or below.

If you’re interested in growing strawberries, visit our Horticulture Agent, Brad Hardison for many tips and tricks. You can also pop into our office and pick up some information on how to make strawberry jam, jelly, or preserves. Enjoy strawberry harvesting while it’s here and spend some quality time with your friends and family.

*Sources: Steps to Health, Harvest of the Month: Strawberries and childnutrition.ncpublicschools.gov

For more information, contact Sydney Johnson, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.

Sydney Johnson is an area Family & Consumer Sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Sydney Johnson
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/web1_Johnson-2.jpgSydney Johnson

By Sydney Johnson

Contributing columnist

Sydney Johnson is an area Family & Consumer Sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Sydney Johnson is an area Family & Consumer Sciences extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

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