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    strawberries

Food Percentage of DRI per 100 grams
vitamin C
78  
manganese
19  
fiber
8  
iodine
6  
folate
6  
copper
6  
potassium
4  
magnesium
3  
phosphorus
3  
biotin
3  
omega-3 fats
3  
vitamin B6
3  

The sweet, delicious Strawberry Fragaria or ‘The Queen of fruits’ is the most popular fruit in the world. That’s right, the strawberry is classified as a fruit, not a berry. Technically, the seeds of a berry are located inside the flesh which is what you see in the blueberry, cranberry and cherry for example. The seeds of the strawberry on the other hand, are found on the surface.      

To maximize the yield, farmers sometimes use straw to protect budding berries from the soil. It is possible that this is how the fruit got the name strawberry. Another theory is that they acquired this name from being strung together on grass straws and sold as “straw-berries”. 

There are two categories of strawberries, wild and cultivated. Wild strawberries have existed for over 2,000 years. They are not cultivated commercially because they have a low yield and are much smaller. However, they have a wonderful, concentrated flavor and just like other wild foods they are more nutritionally dense. When it comes to cultivated strawberries there are over 600 varieties. Some strawberry plant species bear fruit year-round while others only during summer season.  

Strawberries are packed with an impressive variety of antioxidants, flavonoids and phenols, making them anti-inflammatory and greatly beneficial for the immune system. They are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B-complex, E, and especially vitamin C. Strawberries also contain plenty of dietary fiber and minerals including potassium, biotin, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc and iodine. 

VOLUME: quiet/moderate 

FLAVOR PAIRINGS 

Almonds, apples, apricots, arugula, bananas, basil, bell peppers, berries, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, coconut cream, coconut nectar, coconut yogurt, cucumbers, fennel, figs, ginger, grapefriut, guava, hazelnuts, honey, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, maple syrup, melons, mint, nut cheeze, nut cream, nut m!lk, nut yogurt, oats, oil, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, pecans, pepper, pineapple, pistachios, rhubarb, spinach, sweeteners, thyme, tofu, tomatoes, vanilla, vegan sour cream, vinegar, walnuts, watermelon.  

SELECTING 

Imported strawberries are often available year-round, although more abundantly the summer months. When in season you can find locally grown seasonal strawberries which are both more delicious and more nutrient dense. A good way to determine if strawberries are tasty is by smelling. Strawberries that taste good and sweet will have a strong fragrance. You will often find that medium-sized strawberries are more flavorful than larger ones. Strawberries don’t continue to ripen after they have been picked. Therefore, select fully ripe berries at their peak of color. This is also when the strawberry is at its peak of nutrition, fragrance and flavor. Strawberries are very perishable, so buy them just one or two days before you intend to use them.  

Frozen strawberries are a good alternative when local or fresh are not available. They are usually more economical too, so if you intend to use strawberries for smoothies, !ce creams or other blended treats, ready frozen strawberries are a great option. 

Strawberries are included in the so-called “dirty dozen’’, meaning they rank among the top fruits and vegetables on which pesticide and fumigant residue has been most frequently found. Therefore, it makes extra sense to choose organic when it comes to strawberries. 

If you can’t afford or find organic strawberries, a vinegar bath can potentially help remove some of the pesticides from the skin. Mix 1 part vinegar with 9 parts water and soak your strawberries for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Some say a vinegar bath can also extend the shelf life of the strawberries. 

HOW TO USE 

Wash strawberries with their greens on to prevent them from absorbing water and washing away their precious flavor. Once washed you can pinch off stems and caps with your fingers or with a paring knife. If you are using in a blended recipe or freezing for smoothies, consider leaving the leaves on. The leaves are edible and full of valuable vitamins and minerals and will not be noticeable in a strawberry smoothie.  

Strawberries are a wonderful ingredient in shakes, !ce creams, fruit salads, jams, pies and so much more. They are the most nutritious when enjoyed fresh and unheated. Another thing to avoid is over-blending. Strawberries will oxidize when blended for a long time, and the result is a dull color and less nutrients. For a perfectly pink strawberry m!lk shake, add the strawberries at the very end and blend only for a few seconds.  

STORING 

Keep the greens on if using for smoothies.  

Because of their perishable nature, strawberries need to be stored with care. Even if they are stored right they will only stay fresh for a few days.  

Any rotten or moldy strawberries need to be removed to prevent them from contaminating the ones that are still fresh. Place the strawberries unwashed and with their greens intact in a sealed container in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Optimal temperature would be 2°C (36°F) whereas the recommended average temperature fo refrigerators is approximately 4,5°C (40°F). 

Strawberries act as sponges soaking up water when they are washed, and once wet their shelf life decreases significantly. If you must wash them prior to storing you can use a solution of one part vinegar with three parts water. Then allow to fully drain and pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel. The more dry the better. You could even line your salad spinner with paper towels to get rid of any remaining moisture. The vinegar kills bacteria which will extend the shelf life somewhat. And don’t worry about the vinegar taste, it won’t be noticeable. Store  in a container lined with a fresh set of paper towels to absorb any remaining drops of water. Some say storing strawberries in a tightly sealed glass jar extends their shelf life significantly. 

To store in the freezer, arrange the washed and drained strawberries in a single layer on a flat baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Once frozen solid, transfer to a sealed freezer container or zip-lock bag and place back in the freezer.  

SUBSTITUTIONS 

If fresh strawberries are not available frozen ones can be a good substitute.  

Other berries can also be used instead of strawberries. Try raspberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries or goji berries.  

HEALTH BENEFITS 

Of all fruits, strawberries have the highest amount of Vitamin C, making it superb for strengthening the immune system and preventing colds and flu’s. Strawberries also have extraordinary amounts of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that have proven to significantly benefit cardiovascular health, prevent stroke, and lower cholesterol. The beneficial effect required a daily intake of 1-2 cups strawberries for a period of at least 1 month. Studies also found that ongoing intake of strawberries 2-3 times per week had a regulating effect on blood sugar and significantly lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes. One particular type of polyphenol in strawberries—ellagitannins—was found especially important for this blood sugar-relating benefit. Ellaginannins are polyphenols that are known to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called alpha-amylase.  

Stawberries have also proven to enhance cognitive function, improve balance, and decrease inflammation in the digestive tract including IBS, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s diesease. The antioxidants and phenols in strawberries can even prevent vision realated disorders – including macular degeneration.  Not surprizingly, the high levels of anti-inflammatory antioxidants of strawberries also show a tumor-inhibiting effects and a reduce the risk of developing cancer. Other health issues that strawberries can potentially help prevent (although more research is needed) include respiratory infections, fibromyalgia, inflammation-related arthritis, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, guillain-barre syndrome and lupus.  

OXALATES 

Strawberries contain measurable amounts of naturally-occurring antinutrients called oxalates. Once consumed, oxalates can bind onto minerals and crystalize in the colon or urinary tract. For most people these compounds are then eliminated through the stool or urine without any issues. However, an accumulation of oxalates in individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder issues can be associated with an increased risk of kidney stones. Therefore, people who have had, or are at risk of developing kidney stones are often advised to minimize their consumption of high oxalate foods. Others claim oxalates are not the villain, and avoiding these vegetables and fruits is misguided, causing people to miss out on important antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Dr. Brooke Goldner, MD, among others, point out that it is a high intake of animal protein that leads to increased calcium and uric acid excretion as well as decreased urinary citrate – which is the most common cause of calcium oxalate kidney stones.  

Further, some claim that oxalates may interfere with absorption of calcium which in turn can lead to mineral deficiency, leaky gut, malnutrition and even autism. Yet, every peer-reviewed research study shows, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is so small it does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute with calcium and other beneficial minerals.   

HISTORY 

Wild strawberries date back far in history to the ancient Romans and Greeks whom didn’t just eat them, but also used them for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.  

 In the 18th century, samples of a larger strawberry variety were brought back from South America to Europe by a French engineer. Cultivation of the new strawberry began, but it took some crossbreeding before the large, juicy, sweet and delicious strawberry hybrid we know today was developed. It quickly became popular, spreading throughout Europe. Although it remained mainly a luxury among the wealthy folks. It wasn’t until the 19th century, once railroads enabled shipping that strawberries could become available among the general population.  

 

REFERENCES 

T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas Campbell, MD. ‘The Plant Paradox’ by Steven Gundry MD– A Commentary. Published online August 23, 2017 — Updated January 3rd, 2019 

Dr. Steven R Gundry, MD. The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. Harper Wave. 2017 

Aharoni A, Giri AP, Verstappen FWA et al. Gain and Loss of Fruit Flavor Compounds Produced by Wild and Cultivated Strawberry Species. Plant Cell. 2004 November; 16(11): 3110-3131. 2004. 

Ellis CL, Edirisinghe I, Kappagoda T et al. Attenuation of Meal-Induced Inflammatory and Thrombotic Responses in Overweight Men and Women After 6-Week Daily Strawberry (Fragaria) Intake: a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2011 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]. 2011. 

Fernandes VC, Domingues VF, Mateus N et al. Organochlorine Pesticide Residues in Strawberries from Integrated Pest Management and Organic Farming. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print]. 2011. 

Meyers KJ, Watkins CB, Pritts MP, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Nov 5;51(23):6887-92. 2003. 

Reber JD, Eggett DL and Parker TL. Antioxidant capacity interactions and a chemical/structural model of phenolic compounds found in strawberries. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print]. 2011.