Harvest of the Month | May | Strawberries
Every year, I look forward to bringing my kids to pick baskets of strawberries, taking them home and making homemade strawberry jam. It is so worth the time and effort to enjoy the fresh air on the farm and watch the kids run around trying to find the most perfect strawberry.
There are two ways to make the jelly. You can either use the cook method or the no-cook method. I tried them both last year and could not decide which I liked better. The no-cook method was easier and faster so I am going with that this year. I usually make enough to give some away but also have enough for my family to last the whole year. I ran out about 2 months ago and was so sad about it!
Below, Barbara Bankhead, a GSU dietetic intern, has put together some interesting facts about the strawberry that I did not know. I learned something new when I read this. We have also included a recipe.
Really Cool Facts…
Strawberries are produced from the female plant Fragaria ananassa. The vibrant berry is known as an aggregate accessory fruit. Typically, fruits grow from the ovary of a plant. Strawberries grow from a receptacle holding the ovary, not the ovary itself. The flower’s ovaries are actually found on the skin of its strawberry, which are in most cases thought to be seeds. The fruit’s skin is covered in ovaries and within those ovaries lays the seeds. From a salad to a smoothie, strawberries can be eaten and enjoyed in a variety of ways.
So, You Want To Grow Them…(if the local critters do not eat them!)
Planting and growing strawberries takes diligence and may require a couple of years of care before the results are satisfactory. Strawberries are happiest when grown in the spring. The berries come from sprawling plants that may creep out over a wide area as well as develop weeds. Due to short roots, they need a lot of moisture and watering. After blossoming, 4-6 weeks will pass before the berries are ready to be harvested. Strawberries should be picked when they are fully ripened and red. When pulled right off the plant, strawberries tend to be at their sweetest. Over time, the natural sugars turn to starch which can contribute to the tart flavor when brought home from the grocer. The fruit can be stored, unwashed, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Another option is freezing whole berries, which can last up to two months.
Oh, So Good For Us!
Strawberries are packed with wonderful nutrients for a healthy body and mind. Strawberries are high in phytonutrients that can protect us from certain cancers, aging, and neurological disorders. They are a good source of Vitamin C, which helps us have a stronger immune system. They also have iron, magnesium, and calcium to have healthy bones and a strong cardiovascular system.
6-Minute Fruit Tart
Servings: As many wonton papers that you buy!
Won Ton Paper
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place wontons in cupcake/muffin pan and heat in oven for 5 minutes.
3. While wontons are cooking, slice bananas and strawberries (one wonton takes about 1 strawberry and 1/4 banana).
4. Take wontons out of oven, place fruit in wontons, and serve.
These may be nice topped with a bit of powdered sugar to make them look festive.
Written by Barbara Bankhead, Dietetic Intern at GSU and Lesley Baradel, MBA, MS, RD, LD