Strawberries are most commonly used in desserts and ice creams. Their extracts are also used as preservatives in a variety of products. Due to their sweet and juicy flavour, they can also be eaten whole like other fruits. Today, they form a part of various recipes. Given below are some tips for enjoying this delicious fruit.
- You can simply eat the strawberries raw. Before doing so, wash them in running water and wipe them with paper towels until they are completely dry.
- Strawberry slices can be added to mixed green salad. A great recipe is baby spinach, toasted pine nuts, Spanish onion and fresh strawberries with an olive oil, balsamic, honey and paprika dressing is one possibility. Chicken and strawberry salad is another example with a tangy vinaigrette and rich blue cheese.
- Strawberry mousse is a favourite. This can be eaten as it is or served as a topping over other desserts.
- Sliced strawberries, plain yogurt, custard and or cream can be arranged in layers in a wine glass to make a parfait dessert.
- Strawberries can be blended with orange juice to make the perfect coulis sauce. This fruit can also be added to breakfast shakes to make them more vibrant and nutritious.
- Strawberry pie can be prepared by piling the whole fruits on a layer of creamy filling.
- Pizzas can also be topped by strawberries. You can layer your favourite pizza with strawberry slices along with soft cheese or greens, and pistachios.
- The strawberry-avocado salsa is an extremely sweet and savoury dish that can be served with roasted chicken or sautéed fish, or can be eaten as a snack with baked tortilla chips.
- Strawberries can add flavour to your tea as well. All you need to do is add some tea and a cup of strawberries to boiling water. Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes. Strain the tea and add ice cubes and sugar. This refreshing drink can be garnished with strawberries and served chilled.
Nutritional Value of Strawberries
Strawberries are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are low in kilojoules but rich source of health promoting phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. They have high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins and ellagic acid (a natural phenol antioxidant).
Fresh strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is a powerful natural anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C is anti-inflammatory and may help the body develop resistance against infectious agents.
The fruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors and assist the body in metabolising carbohydrate, proteins and fats.
Strawberries contain vitamin-A, vitamin-E and health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, and beta-carotene in small amounts. These compounds are protective and play a role in delaying aging and various disease processes.
Strawberries contain a good amount of dietary fibre and minerals like potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for antioxidants. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
Due to their high nutritional value, scientific studies show that consumption of these berries has potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
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