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In Season in Virginia: Strawberries

Published by , on Apr 15, 2015

Strawberries are in season in Virginia from April to June. It’s a great time to enjoy this nutrient-packed fruit and to add recipes featuring fresh strawberries to your family’s meal rotation.

Delicious AND nutritious 



One cup of sliced strawberries provides 163 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C (more than a whole orange), 12 Percent Daily Value of fiber and 9 Percent Daily Value of the B vitamin folate. Strawberries also contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is found to protect the body against the kind of damage linked to increased risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Below are family favorite recipes and tips for enjoying this seasonal specialty recommended by Ashley Cappel, Registered Dietitian for CHoR’s Healthy Lifestyles Center.



straw


Tips for storing strawberries




  • Store berries whole in the refrigerator so they retain the most vitamins.

  • To keep berries fresh longer, wash the berries in a vinegar-water bath and place them in a container lined with paper towels to keep out moisture.

  • If you’re using frozen berries, look for berries that have been frozen whole which preserves more nutrients than slicing or crushing before freezing. To freeze your own fresh strawberries: Wash, gently dry and cut leaves (hulls) off the strawberries, then place the berries on a baking sheet, not touching one another, and freeze until solid. Transfer to plastic freezer-safe bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months.


Recommended recipes featuring strawberries


Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Pops


Ingredients:
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup low-fat strawberry or vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup cranberry juice cocktail or pomegranate juice
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Place strawberries, banana, yogurt, juice and maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide the smoothie among small paper or plastic cups and freeze until thick, but not completely frozen, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Insert frozen treat sticks and continue freezing until completely firm, 4 to 5 hours more. You can also freeze the smoothies in ice cube trays for a quick and portioned sweet treat.


strawberriesYogurt Covered Strawberries



Ingredients:
- Strawberries, washed and dried
- Vanilla Greek yogurt
- Chocolate sprinkles

Dip (or completely cover) strawberries in yogurt and freeze an inch or so apart on parchment paper. Add chocolate sprinkles before freezing if you wish.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Ingredients:
- Strawberries, washed and dried
- Dark chocolate chips or white chocolate melting dots
- Natural coconut flakes

Set up a double boiler or float a metal bowl in a sauce pot to melt the chocolate. Be sure to melt the chips or dots slowly. Remove from heat when a few are left and stir until all are melted. Dip a dry strawberry in the melted chocolate and place to cool on wax or parchment paper. Roll the chocolate-covered strawberries in coconut flakes before fully cooled if desired.

picking

Include fresh strawberries in your recipes – take a trip to your local strawberry farm for springtime family fun!


Strawberry & Yogurt Parfait


Ingredients:
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup granola

Combine strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until the berries start to release juice, about 5 minutes. To assemble the parfait, layer yogurt and the strawberries with their juice in a two-cup container. Once you have two layers of each, top with a dollop of yogurt and the granola. Parfaits can be assembled up to two hours ahead. You can pack individual parfaits in plastic containers or mason jars for a healthy on-the-go breakfast treat.

Strawberry Spinach Salad


Ingredients:
- 6 oz. fresh spinach, washed
- 1 pint strawberries, washed, dried and sliced
- 1 green apple, washed and sliced thinly (keep skins on)
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Strawberry Dressing (recipe follows) or Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Toss all the ingredients together, except the salad dressing. Add your own dressing just before eating. If you’re using a purchased dressing be sure to pick one without artificial colors and less than 3-4 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons like Annie’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Note: For a kid-size salad portion, combine 2 ounces of fresh spinach with 2 sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Strawberry Dressing


Ingredients:
- 1 cup strawberries, washed
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp honey

Puree strawberries with the rest of ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. This sweet and tangy dressing also works well as a marinade for fish or seafood.

Strawberry & Blue Cheese Bruschetta


Ingredients:

- 12 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1-2 tsp water, if needed
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 12 slices whole-grain baguette (1/4 inch thick), warmed or toasted

Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl and let stand while you make the cheese spread. To make cheese spread, combine cream cheese and blue cheese in a small bowl using a fork. Add water, if necessary, for a thick but spreadable consistency. Stir in pepper and 1 tablespoon of the chives. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture on each piece of baguette. Top with the sliced berries. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives, if desired.

Note: While this recipe presents a great opportunity to encourage children to try blue cheese – which may be a new food for many – the blue cheese could be replaced with a less strongly flavored cheese such as feta or omitted from the recipe.

Sign up for CHoR’s Tid*Bits family newsletter for more family favorite recipes from our dietitians, including a strawberry banana mock sushi featured in the spring 2015 issue.


Resources:
The recipes for Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Pops, Strawberry & Yogurt Parfaits and Strawberry and Blue Cheese Bruschetta are adapted from EatingWell.com.  The recipes for Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Strawberry Spinach Salad and Strawberry Dressing are adapted from information provided by Edible Education, a CHoR community partner. Edible Education offers hands-on learning about fresh, seasonal foods to students of all ages.

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