It’s Strawberry Season!

By Sidra Forman, Best Life chef

Sure, you can get strawberries all year long, but berries that are picked in season—typically from late May through July—will be a real treat for your tastebuds. And when you buy locally grown, you often have the advantage of choosing from a variety of strawberries. (Only a few of the heartier versions can survive the long trip from other states or countries.) In fact, there are more than 600 types of strawberries that vary in taste, color, shape and size. Before you head down to your farmer’s market to fill up your basket with berries that are brimming with flavor, check out why they’re so good for you, how to pick the best ones and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Strawberries are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. I’d recommend buying organic strawberries if possible because they are one of the fruits that do absorb pesticides if they’re used during the growing process. They’re pretty perishable, so you should try to eat them within a couple of days of buying them. Keep them in the refrigerator and be sure to remove any berries that become moldy or start to go bad to keep the others fresh.

You can toss your fresh strawberries into smoothies, add them to your morning cereal or mix them into your yogurt or some non-fat ricotta for a high-calcium snack. Or, try these tasty recipes:

Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

These flavors combine to make a delicious warm weather salad.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups greens such as arugula, mixed greens or chopped Romaine

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine strawberries, onion, salt, pepper to taste, balsamic vinegar and oil in large bowl.

2. Toss strawberries with greens and serve immediately.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
1 serving

Calories: 56
Protein: 1 g
Carbohydrate: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Sugars: 4 g
Total Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Calcium: 41 mg
Sodium: 81 mg

Strawberry Crumble with Rosemary
Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soymilk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine oatmeal, oil, soymilk, sugar, baking powder, rosemary and walnuts in a food processor until combined, about 1 minute.

3. Place strawberries in a 9-inch pie tin. Crumble oatmeal mixture over strawberries.

4. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

5. Stir together sour cream and brown sugar.

6. Serve crumble warm topped with sour cream mixture.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
1 Serving

Calories: 187
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 23 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 12 g
Total Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Calcium: 89 mg
Sodium: 80 mg