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Our guide to spring fruits and vegetables is the source for what's in season now.

Recipes to make the most of the berry.

Season's Pick

Strawberries

Beloved Berries

Everybody loves strawberries, and what's not to love? They're so sweet-tasting you can eat them by the handful, they're a hallmark of spring, and they're nutritionally great for you. "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did," author William Butler eulogized back in the 16th century.

Strawberries have grown wild in Europe and the Americas for centuries. The Romans adored them, so did the Indians of New England. It's believed they were first called "strewberries" because of the way the red berries grow — it looks as if they've been strewn around the leaves of the plant. The name evolved into strawberries, perhaps because farmers brought them to market on bales of hay.

Today, the bulk of the U.S. strawberry crop is grown in California. The sunshine state produces about a billion pounds of strawberries each year.


Berry Good For You

Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C. One cup has more than the recommended dietary allowance for that important vitamin. They also deliver some fiber and potassium. Strawberries are a dieter's dream — each cup only has about 55 calories.


Picking the Pint

Look for bright red, fully-ripe, fragrant strawberries with fresh green tops. Avoid berries that are white around the stem or are lacking aroma. Large berries are so appealing, but remember the smaller ones may have more flavor.

Strawberries in containers can easily bruise and mold, so scan them carefully before adding them to your shopping cart. Also, stains on a strawberry carton may be sign that some of the berries are overripe.

  


Storing Strawberries

When you get home, liberate your strawberries. They keep best arranged in a single layer on a tray lined with a paper towel in the refrigerator. For maximum delight, gobble them up within a day or two. Wait until you're ready to eat the strawberries before cleaning. Wash quickly, pat dry, then cut off the stem end or hull.


Strawberrry Fields

Strawberries add color and flavor to salads. They're an old faithful in desserts, fabulous on their own and a yummy addition in cereal or mixed with yogurt. Lemon, rum and balsamic vinegar are some natural partners. A sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper is also said to bring out the flavor.

Try strawberries in these recipes:

Michael Lomonaco's Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcakes
Fresh Strawberry Almond Tart
Balsamic Strawberries with Strawberry Sorbet
Lemon Angel Cake with Strawberries

Strawberry Soup with Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Jam

 

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