Once a summer fruit, today no stylish wedding or garden party is complete without a serving dish of strawberries and cream.Â However, these days it is possible to get strawberries grown in hothouses all the year round in local supermarkets.Â Not only are strawberries deliciously scrumptious, they are also good for your health, as well.
A fact that did not escape the ancient Romans, who believed strawberries, could alleviate symptoms of melancholy, fainting, inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.Â While, not exactly the miracle cure the Romans thought, strawberries certainly do have many beneficial qualities.
The ellagitannin content of strawberries has been associated with decreased rates of cancer death.Â In one study conducted in New Jersey, strawberries were top of a list of eight foods that were linked to lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of 1,271 elderly people.Â Apparently, those eating the most strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer compared with those eating fewer or no strawberries.
A member of the rose family, strawberries are low in calories and a good source of many vitamins and nutrients that a healthy body needs.Â High in iron and Vitamin C, they contain less than 60 calories per handful.Â Eating just eight strawberries provides 14% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for children.Â They are also a good source of folic acid, fibre, potassium and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
That apart, besides being healthy, strawberries are also a very versatile fruit and can be used in baked foods, salads, beverages, or simply dipped in decadent chocolate or even eaten plain.
Highly perishable, fresh strawberries should be used as soon as possible to ensure the best flavour, appearance and nutrient content.Â Since, strawberries freeze well, freeze them by mixing equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.Â Cool the resultant mixture and place 150-gms of stemmed and sliced strawberries in a freezer bag.Â Pour the sugar / water mixture into the bag, just enough to completely cover the strawberries.Â Seal and freeze, keeping berries in a single layer.
If, you do not want to freeze strawberries by using sugar, set whole, firm berries on a baking sheet in a single layer, without touching each other and place in the freezer.Â Once the berries are frozen, place them in a sealable plastic bag.Â You now have strawberries that individually frozen and do not stick together.
Because the moisture content of strawberries varies throughout the season, it’s recommended that home-frozen strawberries be used in beverages and sauces, not in recipes where liquid variations could make a difference.
Thawing strawberries in the refrigerator will allow them to retain their shape better. When thawing at room temperature, keep the berries in a clean, sanitary environment. Cover and refrigerate unused thawed berries within two hours. Never try to speed up the thawing process by running water over the outside of the container, as that allows bacteria to grow. After thawing, keep berries refrigerated and use within three days. Never re-freeze strawberries.