Ingredient focus... strawberries
It's difficult to resist a perfectly ripe strawberry, but did you know just how good they are for you? Nutritionist Jo Lewin shares the nutrition benefits of the bright red berry.
How to select and store
Choose berries that are firm, plump, unblemished and free of mould. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red colour and bright green caps attached. Once picked, strawberries do not ripen further so avoid those that are dull, or have green or yellow patches. Wash and handle them with care. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Best of British...
The strawberry season in the UK is short and runs from the end of May through July. To achieve maximum yields during this short season, farmers need to protect emerging berries from the muddy soil. They do this by spreading a layer of straw around each new plant - hence the name strawberry.
Try to choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season as they will have the best flavour, though imported berries are available all year round. The scent of strawberries can be an indicator of quality. They are highly perishable and so are best eaten within a couple of days.
It may come as a surprise to learn that strawberries are a common allergen. If you have allergies to birch pollen, you are more likely to develop a secondary food allergy to strawberries. Most common symptoms are experienced in the mouth and throat - tingling, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. Although the white strawberry variety is known to contain less of the allergen, they are best avoided if you experience a strawberry allergy. If you are concerned about food allergies or anaphylaxis consult your GP
Feeling indulgent? Strawberries love chocolate:
White chocolate berry cheesecake
Basil & white chocolate creams with sticky balsamic strawberries
Sweeten salads with strawberries:
Salmon, strawberry & fennel salad
Jo Lewin holds a degree in nutritional therapy and works as a community health nutritionist and private consultant. She is an accredited member of BANT, covered by the association's code of ethics and practice.