Strawberries: June’s Harvest of the Month

HEALTH BENEFITS, TIPS FOR SHOPPING, AND RECIPES FOR MEALS WITH STRAWBERRIES

Each month, the North Country Region of Eat Smart NY chooses a locally-grown fruit, vegetable or other food group to feature as its “Harvest of the Month” — providing nutritional information about that ingredient, as well as tips for purchasing or preparing it. The Harvest of the Month for June 2018 is strawberries!

Strawberries

Why They’re Are So Great

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps your body heal cuts and wounds and helps lower your risk of infection. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb the iron found in foods.

Strawberries also contain potassium and magnesium, both of which help to reduce high blood pressure and the rigidity of arteries and blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through your body. Finally, they have high levels of antioxidants, which can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by limiting the formation of bad cholesterol.

How much do you need? The amount of fruits and vegetables you need depends on your age, gender, and the amount of physical activity you get every day. A half-cup of strawberries (about 4 large berries) is enough to give you an excellent source of vitamin C.

Shopper’s Tips

When shopping for strawberries, look for plump berries with a natural shine, rich red color, and a sweet smell. The green caps should be attached and look fresh.

You can store strawberries in your refrigerator for up to three days, and make sure to wash them before you eat them!

Healthy Serving Ideas

Strawberries can be served in a variety of different ways! Try heating sliced strawberries in the microwave with a small amount of orange juice or unsweetened applesauce, and place them on top of pancakes or waffles. Or, try blending strawberries, orange juice, and low-fat yogurt for a refreshing smoothie.

Try out this Strawberry Smoothie recipe:

strawberriesIngredients (makes 2 servings):
1 medium banana
½ cup of ice cubes
1 cup of low-fat plain yogurt
½ cup of 100% orange juice
4 frozen strawberries

Optional ingredients: ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Directions:
1. Peel the banana and place it in a blender.
2. Add all remaining ingredients to the blender.
3. Cover and blend until smooth.
4. Enjoy!

Notes: For a thicker smoothie, use non-fat, soy, or 1% milk instead of orange juice. If your smoothie is too thick, add water or ice. If it is too thin, add more fruit. If you don’t have a blender, you can use a fork to mash the fruit, whisk in the other ingredients, and serve over ice.

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