Enjoy Michigan strawberries this season

June brings the promise of warmer weather and gardens brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as an abundance of Michigan produce appearing at your local farmer’s market.

One of the most anticipated fruits of the summer making its appearance in June is the strawberry.  Strawberries are delicious eaten freshly picked, make a low fat and low calorie snack and are often prepared in summer salads, jams, pies and the ever popular Strawberry Shortcake.

These tasty morsels of red, juicy sweetness have the benefit of being a great source of Vitamin C, even topping citrus fruits.  Strawberries are also a good source of Vitamin A (think dark red color) and fiber.  They are low in fat and sodium as well as calories having only 50 calories in one cup of the berries.  According to the American Cancer Society, strawberries may lower your risk of gastrointestinal cancers.

When buying or picking strawberries, look for fresh berries free of brown spots or mold.  One and one half pounds of berries will yield one quart or about four cups of sliced berries.

Plan on eating strawberries as soon as possible after you have picked or purchased.  Freeze for that fresh berry taste once the season is over.  Strawberries should not be left at room temperature for more than two to three days.  While refrigeration doesn’t improve the quality of the berry, it is the best storage option.  Store berries unwashed and loosely covered for about two to three days.  Wash before eating or preparing to use in recipes.  Discard if mold is present.

For more information about strawberries, including more preservation tips check out Michgan State University (MSU) Extension’s Michigan Fresh fact sheets.

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