• Fragrant sweet strawberries are the most popular type of berry fruit in the world.Although strawberries have become increasingly now available year round,they are at the peak of the season from April through July when they are most delicious and in abundance.Enticing,rich,red sweet yet gently tart strawberries are among the most popular berries.
  • A strawberry is a small plant with a crown of dark green leaves each of which has three small leaflets with saw like edges.Runners or long stems,grow from the crown,which send down roots when they touch the ground and a new plant develops.Bees fertilize the white flowers of a strawberry and the red heart shaped fruits are produced. It is a perennial plant.
  • Largest producers of strawberries :
  • Japan
  • USA
  • Spain
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Strawberry producing states in USA alone :
  • California
  • Florida
  • Oregon
  • North Carolina
  • Washington
  • Pennysylania
  • Micheal
  • new York
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio

Health benefits :

  • Strawberry boosts immunity :One bowl of the strawberries can provide you with a single day's requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C works on your body to keep u fit and it also boost your immunity.
  • Strawberry for anti inflammatory properties:Strawberry have phenol in them.They work like aspirin and ibuprofen without the side effects like stomach and intestinal bleeding.
  • Strawberry for the heart:These phenolic compounds improve blood vessel function,and decrease the tendency for blood clotting.Flavonoids decrease Inflammatory process in the body and this helps to have the heart potassium present in the fruit regulates blood pressure too.
  • Strawberry for cancer:Vitamin C helps to prevent cancer.a phytochemical named Ellagic acid found in strawberry has been proven to have anticancer properties.
  • Strawberry is low in calories and fats but a rich source of phyto nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Nutritional profile :
  • Strawberries are a very good source of dietary fibre, iodine, and folate.Additionally they are good source of copper, potassium,biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega 3 fatty acids.They are also an excellent source of antioxidant promoting vitamin C and manganese.

Amazing facts:

  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.There is a museum in Belgium just for the strawberries, where you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.
  • Strawberries are the member of rose family.94% of US households consume strawberries.In medieval times strawberries were served at important functions to bring peace and prosperity.
  • Strawberries are low in fat, calories, high in vitamin C, fiber,folic acid, potassium.
  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.he average strawberry has 200 seeds.
  • California alone produces some 80 % of the strawberries in the USA.
  • Strawberries can also be pickled especially when green or unripe.

Healthiest way of preparing strawberries :

  • Relishing on raw strawberries is more effective than in a cooked recipes,that is because their nutrients include vitamins,antioxidants, and enzymes are vulnerable to temperatures used in baking.

Why you should opt for strawberries :

  • Strawberries are excellent source of vitamin C and just 100 gram has a whole day's supply.The small seeds embedded in the skin of the berry provide a good source of dietary fibre.
  • They are also an excellent source of folate ( one of the B vitamins )
  • The natural sweetness comes from the sugars: fructose and glucose.100 gram has 90kj.

Strawberry beauty tips:

  • Tooth whitening:Simply rub crushed fresh strawberry pulp directly on your teeth to clean and gently remove stains.

Skin benefits of strawberry :

  • Excellent skin cleanser:Strawberry has great cleaning properties.Extracts of strawberries are often used as an ingredient in skin cleansers, face washes, face masks and many more as they contain vitamin C, antioxidants, exfoliants.
  • Improves complexion :Strawberry juice has skin lightening properties and effective in removing age spots and freckles.Apply the extracted juice of strawberry all over the face with a cotton ball and rinse off with lukewarm water after 10 to 15 minutes to get a glowing complexion.
  • Skin toner:Grind a few strawberries to extract the juice.Mix 2tbsp of this juice with 50ml of rose water and chill it.Apply this skin toner to achieve wrinkle free, blemish free younger looking skin.This toner can be kept or stored up to 10 days.
  • Diminishes eye puffiness:They are astringent in nature and can reduce puffiness and dark circles beneath the eyes.Cut a strawberry into thin slices.lay down and put the berry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 to 12 minutes.Cut a strawberry into thin slices.lay down and put the berry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 to 12 minutes.Wash your face with cold water and moisturise it gently.
  • Treatment of acne:Fresh strawberry marks are effective for people with dull,damaged or acne prone skin. Just mash 7 to 8 strawberries and add 1tbsp of milk to the mash.Apply this mixture on your face and rinse after 10 to 12 minutes.Continue this natural treatment for twice a week. soon you will find a vibrant result.

Hair benefits:

  • Fights dandruff:Strawberry can be mixed with phytochemical having antifungal effects like tea tree oil or thyme oil to get rid of dandruff.
  • Promotes silky and shiny hair:Strawberries can add extra shine to your hair.Mash 7 to 8 ripe strawberries and add 1tbsp of mayonnaise.Mix it with the strawberry mash to make a smooth paste.apply it over your hair and scalp and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes.rinse and shampoo your hair.This natural conditioner gives instant shiny hair.
  • Acts as an exfoliant :A mixture of strawberry and yogurt or orange juice exfoliates your hair follicles.

Few quick serving ideas :

  • Add sliced strawberries to mixed green salads.
  • Layer sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and plain yogurt in an ice cream glass to make a parfait dessert.
  • Blend strawberries with a little bit of orange juice and use as a refreshing coulis sauce.Its the combination that makes it so enticing.Add strawberry to breakfast shakes to give them a more vibrant taste and texture.

How to store and select:

  • Selection :We are all aware of the fact that strawberries are fragile and more prone to perish so they should only be purchased a few days prior to use.Forget not to choose berries that are firm,deep red colour and attached green caps.You must avoid strawberries which are dull in colour, or have green or yellow patches since they are more likely to be sour and of inferior quality.Both under ripe and over ripe strawberries are said to have lower vitamin C content and decreased phytonutrient content in compare to optimally ripe berries.
  • Storage :Strawberries with its delicate nature needs to be handled and stored with great care.Before storing in the refrigerator separate away the moulded or damaged berries from the good ones so that they will not contaminate the good ones.Place the unwashed and un hulled berries in a sealed container to prevent unwanted loss of humidity.Berries should not be left exposed to sunlight or left at room temperature for long as this spoil them.
  • Storage of freezed Strawberries :First gently wash them and pat them dry.Arrange them in a single layer on a fry pan or cookie sheet and place them in a freezer to harden.Once frozen, transfer the berries to a heavy plastic bag and put it in the freezer where they will stay fine for up to one year.Adding bit of lemon juice will preserve their colour.
  • Point to be noted that if strawberries are left whole,they will retain higher level of vitamin C.
                                                                                                                       By Arshi Javed,,
                                                                                                                       Writer of "ALLARSH"...
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