By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
While some businesses have flourished through Covid, the strawberries industry along with cafes, restaurants and hotels have not. With all these businesses closed for business, strawberries grown to supply the industry are now being sold in bulk to supermarkets and greengrocers and passed on to the consumer at prices where the grower makes almost nothing.
The message from the Queensland Strawberry industry - Eat more strawberries.
Remember back in 2018 when a man bit into a strawberry contaminated with a needle. Subsequent discoveries totalling 230 needle contaminations, affected 68 strawberry brands and crippled the industry. Growers were forced to destroy entire crops with financial losses estimated at about 160m.
It's no hardship to eat more strawberries, particularly at the price you can find them now, but you must get creative particularly, if you do what the industry is asking of you, and purchase 4 or 5 punnets at a time. Strawberries are extremely perishable and must be eaten within 1 or 2 days of purchase.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING STRAWBERRIES
Low in natural sugar
Low in natural sugar, strawberries are an excellent choice for prediabetic and diabetic people. They have a low GI of 41 and won't raise blood sugar levels significantly. Strawberries have a GI of 41 and have more vitamin C than an entire orange.
High in fibre
Strawberries are a good source of fibre: 10 medium-sized strawberries will give you over 2.5 g fibre, which is important for gut health.
High in Vitamin C
10 medium-sized strawberries provide more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for a strong immune system, healthy skin and wound repair.
High in antioxidants
Strawberries are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS:
As part of a healthy diet, strawberries can help regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure and protect body cells from environmental damage and ageing.
10 WAYS TO EAT MORE STRAWBERRIES
1. On cereal (this one's no-brainer)
2. Blend whole strawberries who natural yoghurt for a healthier homemade strawberry yoghurt -
3. Roast strawberries with ice cream (totally delicious especially with hazelnut ice cream)
4. Strawberry jam (have you tried making jam in a bread maker, it's easy peasy)
5. Dipped in chocolate (oh my, yes please)
6. Stewed with rhubarb (for a double punch of healthy phytonutrients, this reduces the need to add sugar)
7. Freeze them to use in smoothies later in the year
How to freeze strawberries
Frozen strawberries don't have the texture of fresh but are still great to use in smoothies and frozen desserts. Because of their high water content, there is a risk of freezer burn, so it is best to use them up within six months.
1. Wash and gently dry the strawberries. Just a quick wash - no soaking for too long as this will reduce flavour and nutrients.
2. Hull the berries and remove any ones that are spoiled (save these for jams and coulis - see recipe page for ideas)
3. Place the strawberries on a baking sheet, spread out so they are not touching each other, and freeze until solid.
4. Transfer the strawberries to plastic resealable bags or airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to six months
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