Even though California strawberries are available year-round, they’re really at their peak in the summer.
One of the reasons why we love and recommend strawberries is because they’re nutrient-rich. A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and have more antioxidants than most other fruits. They also provide potassium, folic acid and fiber. And the best part, you get all of that for just 50 calories a serving (6-8 medium berries or 1 cup).
Research shows that the berries provide many health benefits—including reduced risk for heart disease, certain cancers and declines in memory as we age.
Here’s two of our favorite California Strawberry recipes.
Selection, Storage and Handling
Pick ’em Right
Look for strawberries that are plump, bright red in color and have fresh green caps.
Keep ’em Cool
To maintain flavor, store strawberries loosely covered and unwashed in the refrigerator. Just before eating, rinse with cool water.
Containers and Cups
To help you know how many berries to buy and in what size container, use this handy guide:
One 16-ounce clamshell container = 3 cups or about 18 whole berries
One pint (2 cups) = 11 ounces or about 12 whole berries
Strawberry, Shrimp and Feta Salad
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
3/4 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp
2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
8 cups mixed salad greens, such as butter lettuce and watercress
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 small cucumber, sliced (about 24 slices)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes To make salad: In small bowl, toss onion with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette; set aside. Over gas or charcoal grill or in grill pan on stove top, grill shrimp 5 minutes, turning once, or until pink and cooked through. In another small bowl, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. In large bowl, toss greens and onion with enough of the remaining vinaigrette to coat lightly. Divide among 4 chilled salad plates and arrange strawberries and shrimp on top of greens. Sprinkle with cheese and garnish with slices of cucumber, equally divided. To make vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette. Tips: For a variation, substitute shredded smoked chicken for the shrimp. Pre-cooked, shelled shrimp may be substituted for grilled shrimp.[/sws_green_box]
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 304 calories; 17 g fat; 192 mg cholesterol; 808 mg sodium; 15 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 25 g protein
Makes 4 servings.
Light and Luscious Strawberry Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted margarine or butter
1 carton (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup flour
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup nonfat light sour cream substitute
3 pint baskets California strawberries, stemmed
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup red currant jelly, melted
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In medium bowl mix crumbs and margarine. Press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside. To make filling, in mixer bowl beat ricotta cheese until smooth. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar, the flour, egg yolks, lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. Stir in sour cream substitute to blend thoroughly. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust; smooth top. Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven; cool in oven 1 hour with door ajar. Remove from oven; chill thoroughly. Meanwhile, to make sauce, in blender or food processor puree 2 baskets of the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice; strain sauce to remove seeds. Cover and chill. To complete cake, halve remaining strawberries; arrange on top of cake. Brush strawberries with jelly. Cut cake into wedges; serve with sauce. Makes one 9-inch cheesecake (14 servings)[/sws_green_box]