There’s nothing quite like a fresh, plump, juicy strawberry, especially during hot summer days! Thankfully, now it is easy to find strawberries available at grocery stores throughout the year. Apart from simply making a lovely sweet treat, strawberries are bursting with nutrients and vitamins. They can be versatile enough that they can be prepared and consumed in many different ways; a testament to their popularity. Read on to learn more about strawberries and some of the many ways in which you can use them.
Nutritional Value of Strawberries
Like many other fruits, strawberries contain plenty of water and fiber, and virtually no fat. The calories they do have come from the natural sugars. About one cup of strawberry halves would typically contain about seven grams of sugars, or forty-nine calories. Although many people normally think of eating oranges for Vitamin C, did you know that strawberries are a great source of it too? In fact, a cup would give you a whopping 149% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C! Moreover, the antioxidants in strawberries are extremely valuable in helping to lower cholesterol and strengthening the body against cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses.
The most basic and popular strawberry preserve is strawberry jam, made with sugar and pectin or gelatin. Strawberry jam can be made into a smooth preserve or with chunks of fruit added for extra texture. Alternatively, it can be made into a jelly. Another great preserve can be created by mixing in other fruits, such as blackberries or kiwi.
Strawberries can be dehydrated by simply slicing and placing in a dehydrator. Another method is to place the strawberries on an oven tray lined with parchment paper, and set the oven to around ninety to120 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave it for a few hours and then let it dry outside for around twelve hours. Dried strawberries are great for adding to trail mix, cereal and other breakfast foods. Instead, the strawberries can also be pureed and dried to make fruit leather.
Strawberries in Dairy
Strawberries make one of the most popular flavors when paired with dairy products. Strawberry milk, smoothies, ice-cream, and yoghurt are classics. Commercially-prepared products normally use artificial flavors and colors. However, fresh strawberries can be used at home for a much healthier version.
Pies, Cakes and Candy
Strawberries are a favorite of many when it comes to desserts. Not only do they impart a delicious flavor, but they also lend a lovely delicate pink color when blended into mixtures. Strawberries also make fantastic edible decorations due to their bright red color. They can be sliced, left whole, pureed, sugared or even processed into a sauce to top a dessert.
- Chocolate Strawberry Cake – This recipe takes a couple of hours to make but it is well worth it for the exquisite taste and stunning presentation.
- Old-Style Strawberry Cake – A wholesome recipe starts from scratch and skips store-bought cake mixes.
- Strawberry Shortcrust Pie (PDF) – After making a strawberry pie, top it with fresh sliced strawberries and dust it with icing sugar.
- Light Strawberry Cheesecake (PDF) – Low-fat cream cheese and milk ensure that this decadent dessert is not as sinful as it appears.
- Strawberry Dessert (PDF) – A low-sugar dessert can be enjoyed by diabetics too without skimping on flavor.
Strawberries as a Healthy Alternative
It can be difficult to stay away from sweets and snacks while dieting or trying to maintain a balanced diet. However, using fruit like strawberries is a great alternative. It will help to satisfy your cravings and give you a healthy energy boost without the extra carbs. Strawberries can also be added to salads and other non-dessert dishes for a more interesting flavor and extra nutrients.