Spring has arrived, bringing with it sweet start of strawberry season. Strawberries, first fruit to ripen in spring, are enjoyed all over world, with native forms growing on every continent except Africa and Australia. Families in 94% of American households eat strawberries, which were selected as favorite fruit by more than half of all 7 to 9 year olds.
In addition to being delicious, strawberries are very nutritious. Ancient Romans prized strawberries for their medicinal value, believing berries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, inflammation, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, halitosis, attacks of gout and diseases of blood, liver and spleen. In fact, strawberries are very high in vitamin C, containing more vitamin C than a medium orange. Vitamin C helps your body heal, resist infections and maintain healthy bones, gums and teeth. Strawberries are also high in antioxidants and fiber, as well as a source of iron, calcium, folate and vitamin A.
Whether you buy your strawberries from a local farmer's market or nearest chain grocery store, take time to select sweetest, ripest berries. Look for bright red berries with fresh green caps. Make sure there are no signs of mold growth in package; if one berry has mold, then you can be sure mold spores have spread throughout entire package. One-and-a-half pounds of strawberries equals one quart, which will give you about four cups of sliced strawberries.
As soon as you get home with your strawberries, put them in a shallow container, cover them loosely with plastic wrap and store them in coldest part of your refrigerator for two to three days at most. Do not wash berries until you are ready to use them. To wash your strawberries, put them in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Then, just remove green caps with a paring knife or tip of a vegetable peeler. Now, you're ready to eat your strawberries or use them in your favorite recipe.
FABULOUS STRAWBERRY MUFFINS
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups milk 1/3 cup melted butter 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 tsp vanilla 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until all ingredient are well blended.