These succulent, versatile berries are reported to have been cultivated as early as the 17th century in France. Strawberries are enjoyed fresh or used in prepared foods such as jams, preserves, fruit juices, ice creams, smoothies and chocolates. They can also be frozen and used for making sauces and milkshakes.
Grown all year round in states of Australia, the coastal regions of QLD, VIC and WA are the largest producers of strawberries. Although they are a traditional “summertime” fruit (with the main production from October to May) the diverse nature of the Australian climate enables year round production.
They are a low source of energy 108kJ/100g, have a low GI, and are a moderate source of fibre providing 2.5g/100g and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and a 100g serve provides 100% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin C for adults!
Strawberries are a great source of other important vitamins and minerals such as Folate and Potassium and contain several types of Phytochemicals (naturally occurring compounds found in plant foods) that act as antioxidants, providing protection against free radicals that can damage cells of the body and lead to disease. They are also a good source of Flavonoids, in particular Anthocyanins, another type of Ahytochemical. Anthocyanins act as antioxidants and are known to have an anti-bacterial effect.
Strawberries need to remain on the plant to fully ripen as they do not continue to ripen once picked. Contrary to popular belief, size plays no part in picking the perfect strawberry. In fact, small strawberries can be just as sweet and juicy as large ones. The perfect strawberry should be bright, shiny, fully coloured, firm and plump. Make sure the cap (calyx) is still attached, and is green and fresh-looking. If freezing, remove the hull, wash and pat dry. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and place the strawberries in a single layer and so they are not touching. Once frozen, place into zip lock bags and use within six months.
Check out Dr Sue Shepherd’s recipe for Berry Smoothie!
Nutritional Information Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia & New Zealand 2006; NUTTAB 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: Fruits & vegetables in season may vary depending on where you live. Check with your friendly greengrocer.