Well-known as a colorful taste treat, this fruit is also a nutritional powerhouse rich in vitamin C.
Did You Know?
Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside, a distinction that means they are not classified by botanists as true berries, which house their seeds on the inside. Indeed, the seeds—the average strawberry sports 200—are actually each considered a separate fruit. The U.S. is the world’s top producer of strawberries, and 94 percent of American households consume the fruit.
Strawberries are a heart-healthy snack option. A Harvard study of women ages 25 to 42 found that those who ate three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries weekly were less likely to have a heart attack. One reason: Both fruits have a high concentration of anthocyanin, a flavonoid that may help improve blood flow to the heart and reduce plaque. Strawberries are also known to contain powerful antioxidants, and they’re a significant source of both fiber and vitamin C. Because foods rich in vitamin C help the body absorb iron, pair strawberries with iron-rich foods such as spinach and dried fruit.
Grow · Buy · Store
Strawberry harvesting season in Ohio runs from June through October (depending on the variety). If you like gardening—and the luxury of fresh strawberries—you might want to try planting your own patch. Specific requirements differ by variety, but in general strawberries grow best in loose, fertile, somewhat-acidic soil in a location with full sun. Strawberry plants sprout lots of runners that will form new plants if left unchecked. Cut these runners, and you’ll have a higher berry yield. Strawberries spoil quickly—pick them the day they ripen and use within three days. At the store, look for bright red berries. Refrigerate, either in a single layer in a dish lined with paper towel or in a colander, and hold off washing until you’re ready to use.
To clean, put strawberries in a colander and rinse with cold water, or wash each one gently with a damp cloth or paper towel. You should cut away the leaves and the portion surrounding them because that area can be difficult to clean—but do so after washing because this can change berry texture and flavor.
Finally, whenever possible, dietitians recommend choosing strawberries that are certified organic. The Environmental Working Group ranks strawberries No. 1 on its “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the largest amounts of pesticide residue.