Monday, February 22, 2010

Strawberries and their Health Benifits

Strawberries are known for their deliciousness  and for their red coloured sweetness. You can find that there are more than 600 varieties of strawberries that differ in flavor, size and texture, You can usually identify a strawberry by the red coloured flesh with yellow seeds piercing its surface, and the small, crown like green leafy cap.
The most common scientific names for strawberry are Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chilioensis. Not many know that these strawberries are full of nutrition too.

Nutritional Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries contain a lot of nutrients with Vitamin C coming first in the list. They also have phyto nutrients and anti oxidants to fight free radicals. Free radicals are nothing but the elements that damage the cells and are belived to cause cancer in our body.
Strawberies provides very good source of Vitamin K , manganese, folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
They are the most versatile of the fruits but can perish easily as well. As soon as you buy fresh strawberries you have to use them. Frozen strawberries do not have that much of nutrients as fresh ones have.

How to choose and handle the strawberries
While choosing strawberries you have to look for plump, firm and free of mould. They should have a deep red colour. When you choose the berries be sure to pick the reddest ones because they do not ripe after they are plucked. Medium sized ones seems to have the best of taste and flavour.
You have to store them properly after washing and cleaning the berries. If any one of them hacve a sign of mould in them please do discard them. Or else it will contaminate the remaining berries and spoil them all. Fresh ones will stay in the refrigerator for a few days.

How to use Strawberries
The peak of strawberries season is from April through July when they are the most delicious and most abundant. You can  eat it just like that , it is that delicious and a very popular one too.
You can also add fresh strawberries to your salads, smoothies also This  is a great way to get the five servings of fruit, that is said to be needed for a healthy immune system.

How to Preserve Strawberries
You can freeze strawberries for upto one year if you are careful. You have to gently wash them and pat them dry. You can either remove the cap and stem or leave them intact, as you wish. Then you have to arrange them in a single layer on a flat plate and place them in the freezer. As and when they are frozen, transfer the berries to a heavy plastic bag / Zip lock bag and return them to the freezer where they will keep for a long tiome. You can add a little lime juice to help to preserve the color of the strawberries. You can store strawberries  whole, cut or crushed, they will retain a higher level of their vitamin C content if they are  left whole in the refrigerator.

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