Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow, either inside or in your garden. Each plant can produce up to a quart of fruit.
There are three common varieties of strawberries – Day Neutral, Ever bearing and June bearing. Day Neutrals and Everbearing have longer growing seasons but generally produce smaller berries. However, if you have limited space, they are the best choice. June bearing berries only produce one crop of fruit per season over a two-three week period in late spring. Many believe they are the juiciest and most favorable.
Strawberries like two things – full sun and well drained sandy loam soil. They enjoy a ph of 5.8-6.2. Plant them in early spring after the last freeze or in the late fall. One tip is to not plant strawberries where tomatoes, eggplant or peppers have been growing to avoid Verticillium Rot.
Strawberry Nutritional Content
For a serving of strawberries which equals to 6 medium sized fruit or one cup -Calories 46
Vitamin C 84.7 mg
Potassium 220 mg
Folate 35 mcg
Vitamin A 17 IU
Calcium 23 mg
One of the health benefits of strawberries is they are fairly low in calories, so they fill you up without filling you out. Eating six strawberries is a hefty portion of fruit. The problem is that many people eat them with sugar sprinkled over them, or in jams, or in pies and cakes with whipped cream. Strawberries are seen as an ingredient in a desert, not a healthy raw snack.
Strawberries, like most red berries are high in antioxidants and low in calories. That makes them popular as a healthy diet food. Folk remedies include rubbing strawberries on sore gums and to reduce swelling. Recently, a Harvard School of Public Health research team led by Dr. Sesso did a decade long study of over 27,000 women. The findings, published last August 2009, discovered that women who consumed about two servings of strawberries a week had a 14% less likelihood of having an elevated C-reactive protein percentage in their system. That means they had less factors for heart disease and inflammation. But, it was also discovered that the women who ate the most strawberries engaged in healthier eating overall.
Strawberries do contain fairly substantial levels of antioxidants which our bodies need to ward off disease and inflammation. They also contain good levels of folate, potassium and Vitamin C as well as being a good source of fiber.
Strawberry Cautions and Concerns
Strawberries are highly perishable. It is best to consume them within a few days of picking them. They are also susceptible to mold and mildew. Never store them crammed together, or they will get easily bruised and be more vulnerable to mold.
Unlike some fruit, they will not continue to ripen once harvested. They will only begin to rot. So, be sure to pick only those that are rich red in color, not with greenish or yellow places on them.
If you wish to freeze them, gently wash the strawberries, then pat dry. Some schools of thought recommend leaving the green stem leaves on them, though there is no evidence that it really matters. They will retain higher levels of Vitamin C if frozen whole.