Berry Fun Facts
Berry Fun Facts and Tips
Courtesy of our Sponsor the California Strawberry Commission.
More info available at www.californiastrawberries.com
Now That’s A Lot Of Frequent Flyer Miles…
If last year’s crop of California strawberries was lined up, berry to berry, they would cross the nation 149 times. That’s enough to provide every U. S. household with 9 pint-sized baskets of strawberries.
Berry Winter Wonderland…
In January and February alone, California strawberry growers produced more than 649 million strawberries. That’s enough strawberries to cover the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge 15 times.
A Seedy Fact…
There is an average of 200 seeds on each strawberry.
I’d Like To Thank the Academy…
It would take 7,000 strawberries to create the red carpet that welcomes the stars to the Academy Awards every year.
Here’s To Your Health, Baby!…
The U.S. Census reports that nearly four million babies will be born this year. By eating strawberries, expectant mothers consume folic acid, an important B vitamin that helps prevent neutral tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
Eight Is Enough!…
Eight medium sized strawberries supply 160 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C, 270 milligrams of potassium, 4 grams of dietary fiber and 20 percent of the daily need for folate.
Hey, Mikey Likes It!…
Strawberries are a favorite with people of all ages, especially children. In a recent survey, kids seven to nine years old picked strawberries as their favorite fruit, followed by grapes, apples, oranges and bananas.
California provides approximately 88 percent of the nation’s strawberries.
California’s strawberry coast is the best place in the world to grow strawberries. Western ocean exposure and balmy Pacific winds insulate fields from extreme temperatures. Warm, sunny days, cool, foggy nights and mild winters combine with sandy soil, creating perfect growing conditions.
California grows 88 percent of the nation’s strawberries, providing a delicious, year-round supply. Volumes peak in April, May and June when production in all districts overlap. The berries are replanted annually on raised beds. The beds are covered with plastic that helps keep the berries away from the soil and retains moisture. Drip irrigation reduces disease problems by keeping moisture away from the strawberries and uses water more efficiently.
For the best berry, the nose knows…
Experts and growers agree, the best berries can be found by fragrance. Whether at a Farmer’s Market or the local grocery, take time to make sure they have a sweet aroma. They should have a shine on the skin and fresh green eaves. Be sure to check the bottom of the box for leading or overripe berries.
To store the strawberries, remove them from the original container with a dry paper towel in the bottom. The paper towel is important to absorb the condensation that berries produce. Do not wash them until just before use. Using this method, you should be able to keep your berries fresh and good for seven to 10 days. When ready to wash, leave the stem and leaves in place. Removing them before washing causes them to soak up more water and diminish the flavor.
Freezing berries for year-round use…
The best method for freezing is first cleaning, hulling, and then pulsing the berries in a blender. By pulsing the berries, you have a more chunky texture. Add a tablespoon of sugar to each blender portion to prevent the pale pink color of the thawed berries. Pour this mixture into sandwich-sized plastic bags and freeze, placing flat in freezer. As needed, open the bags, break off a piece of the frozen product, reseal the bag and replace in freezer. The frozen section can be thawed for use on waffles, meringues, ice cream or in smoothies.
Sprinkle sugar over the berries once thawed to prevent pale pink coloration and maintain ruby color.
Get Creative With Strawberries!
Strawberries have always been a favorite ingredient for chefs across the globe – especially when it comes to creating desserts. But in recent years, culinary professionals are using strawberries in innovative ways that extend beyond dessert and breakfast and are featured in dishes across the menu, all day and all year.
Here are some chef-inspired ideas for using strawberries that may inspire you in your everyday meal planning. It’s all about reinventing with strawberries and adding instant appeal to any dish!
A strawberry can act like a tomato
Try substituting strawberries for tomatoes. The results will amaze you. Consider a strawberry salsa with seafood dishes, or a Caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella and strawberries. Transform a grilled cheese-and-tomato sandwich into a panino with strawberries and Taleggio cheese.
Strawberries are salad friendly
To create fresh twists on classic dressings, use puréed strawberries to stand in for some or all of the vinegar. They’ll add tangy sweetness, body and aromatic appeal. Sliced, diced or whole, strawberries also bring a splash of contrasting color to the plate.
Strawberries play well with cured and smoked foods
The bright, tangy flavor of strawberries makes a perfect foil for smoked salmon and cured meats, such as prosciutto, jamón serrano and smoked pork chops. Their sweet acidity also complements today’s popular crudo (raw fish) dishes.
Strawberries pair perfectly with proteins
Think about richer meats and firm-fleshed fish that are often seasoned with fruity sauces: pork with apples, duck with orange sauce, baked ham with pineapple, chicken with citrus, grilled salmon with mango salsa. Try making fresh strawberry salsas or chutneys for these items. Or glaze them with sauces made by simmering fresh or frozen strawberries with ingredients like wine or fruit juice. Add fresh strawberries as a finishing touch for bright flavor and color.
Roasting strawberries concentrates their flavor
Roast strawberries quickly in a hot oven to make a full flavored “jam” that can be used as a sweet or savory sauce or dressing base, condiment or sandwich ingredient (think cranberry sauce).
Frozen strawberries can be super ice cubes
Add frozen strawberries, instead of ice, directly to blender drinks. You’ll add flavor, nutritional value, color and frosty appeal.
For more tasty tidbits visit the Strawberry Commission Recipe blog at: www.californiastrawberries.com/in_the_kitchen/