Strawberries are not just shaped like a heart, they're good for it, too: The fruit's antioxidants can lower blood pressure, as well as help protect against cancer. Low in fat and calories, a cup of strawberries packs plenty of Vitamin C (more than the daily intake) and they're also a great source of dietary fiber.
Pick your own
Strawberries will not get any riper after you pick them, so leave the green ones behind to ripen a little more. The best time for picking is early in the morning, while the berries are still cool. The stem should be attached after the berry is picked, because removing it tears cells, which, in turn, can reduce Vitamin C in the fruit. These pick-your-own farms allow you to walk through strawberry fields, choosing your own fruit:
Chesterfield Berry Farm, 20501 Skinquarter Road, Moseley, 739-9056 or chesterfieldberry farm.com
Dodd's Acres Farm, 4077 Market Road, Mechanicsville, 781-0180
The Berry Patch, 3622 Darbytown Court, 795-9979
American Indians used this "heart-seed berry" crushed into cornmeal and baked into bread when the colonists first arrived. After tasting the strawberry bread, the colonists created their own version of the recipe, resulting in the strawberry shortcake we've come to know and love.
How to store them
Although strawberries can be purchased year round, the best of the season can be found in May through June. To keep them fresh, Jane Dodd of Dodd's Acres Farm suggests storing them in the fridge, with as little moisture as possible. Don't wash the berries until you're ready to use them.
Strawberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Topping, contributed by Agriberry Farm Filling:
- 1/2 cup of natural or raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1/8 teaspoon of allspice
- 2 quarts of strawberries, sliced
- 2 teaspoons of lime juice
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/3 cup of natural or raw sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 3 tablespoons of softened butter
- 1/2 cup of milk
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour and the allspice in a large bowl. Add the sliced strawberries and mix well. Add the lime juice (fresh is best). Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Mix the topping ingredients in a separate bowl, cutting in the butter thoroughly. Spoon the topping over the berry mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.